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First Edition 1891. Reprinted 1893, 1899, 1905 
{Prize Library Edition) 1903, 1909, 1916 

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From the Rots Roll 










The Days of the Kingmaker . .1 

The House of Xeville . . . . .12 

Richard of Salisbury 19 

The Kingmaker's Youth ..... 29 

The Cause of York ...... 38 

The Beginning of the Civil War : St. Albans . 47 




Warwick Captain of Calais and Admiral . . 60 

Warwick in Exile ...... 79 


Victory and Disaster — Northampton and St. 

Albans ........ 93 

Towton Field . . . . . . .107 


The Triumph of King Edward . . . .128 


The Pacification of the North . . . .137 

The Quarrel of Warwick and King Edward . 159 

Playing with Treason . . . . . 175 




Warwick for King Henry . . . . .193 


The Return of King Edward . . . .208 

Barnet ...,....'. 228 



Or all the great men of action who since the Conquest 
have guided the course of English policy, it is probable 
that none is less known to the reader of history than 
Richard Neville Earl of Warwick and Salisbury. The 
only man of anything approaching his eminence who has 
been treated with an equal neglect is Thomas Cromwell, 
and of late years the great minister of Henry the Eighth is 
beginning to receive some of the attention that is his due. 
But for the Kingmaker, the man who for ten years was 
the first subject of the English Crown, and whose figure 
looms out with a vague grandeur even through the misty 
annals of the Wars of the Roses, no writer has spared a 
monograph. Every one, it is true, knows his name, but 
his personal identity is quite ungrasped. Nine persons 
out of ten if asked to sketch his character would find, to 
their own surprise, that they were falling back for their 
information to Lord Lytton's Last of the Barons or 
Shakespeare's Henry the Sixth. 

An attempt, therefore, even an inadequate attempt, 
to trace out with accuracy his career and his habits of 
<& b 

WARWICK chap. 

mind from the original authorities cannot fail to be of 
some use to the general reader as well as to the student 
of history. The result will perhaps appear meagre to 
those who are accustomed to the biographies of the men 
of later centuries. We are curiously ignorant of many 
of the facts that should aid us to build up a picture of 
the man. No trustworthy representation of his bodily 
form exists. The day of portraits was not yet come ; his 
monument in Bisham Abbey has long been swept away; 
no writer has even deigned to describe his personal 
appearance — we know not if he was dark or fair, stout or 
slim. At most we may gather from the vague phrases 
of the chroniclers, and from his quaint armed figure 
in the Rous Roll, that he was of great stature and 
breadth of limb. But perhaps the good Rous was 
thinking of his fame rather than his body, when he 
sketched the Earl in that quaint pictorial pedigree over- 
topping all his race save his cousin and king and enemy, 
Edward the Fourth. 

But Warwick has only shared the fate of all his con- 
temporaries. The men of the fifteenth century are far 
less well known to us than are their grandfathers or 
their grandsons. In the fourteenth century the chroni- 
clers were still working on their old scale ; in the six- 
teenth the literary spirit had descended on the whole 
nation, and great men and small were writing hard at 
history as at every other branch of knowledge. But in 
the days of Lancaster and York the old fountains had 
run dry, and the new flood of the Renaissance had not 
risen. The materials for reconstructing history are 
both scanty and hard to handle. We dare not swallow 
Hall and Hollingshead whole, as was the custom for two 


hundred years, or take their annals, coloured from end 
to end with Tudor sympathies, as good authority for the 
doings of the previous century. Yet when we have put aside 
their fascinating, if somewhat untrustworthy, volumes, 
Ave find ourselves wandering in a very dreary waste of 
fragments and scraps of history, strung together on the 
meagre thread of two or three dry and jejune compila- 
tions of annals. To have to take William of Worcester 
or good Abbot Whethamsted as the groundwork of a 
continuous account of the times is absolutely maddening. 
Hence it comes to pass that Warwick has failed to receive 
his dues. 

Of all the men of Warwick's century there are only 
two whose characters we seem thoroughly to grasp — the 
best and the worst products of the age — Henry the Fifth 
and Richard the Third. The achievements of the one 
stirred even the feeble writers of that day into a fulness of 
detail in which they indulge for no other hero ; the other 
served as the text for so many invectives under the Tudors 
that we imagine that we see a real man in the gloomy 
portrait that is set up before us. Yet we may fairly ask 
whether our impression is not drawn, either at first or at 
second hand, almost entirely from Sir Thomas More's 
famous biography of the usurper, a work whose literary 
merits have caused it to be received as the only serious 
source for Richard's history. If we had not that work, 
Richard of Gloucester would seem a vaguely -defined 
monster of iniquity, as great a puzzle to the student of 
history as are the other shadowy forms which move on 
through those evil times to fall, one after the other, into 
the bloody grave which was the common lot of all. 

In spite, however, of the dearth of good chronicles, 

WARWICK chap. 

and of the absolute non-existence of any contemporary 
writers of literary merit, there are authorities enough 
of one sort and another to make it both possible and 
profitable to build up a detailed picture of Warwick and 
his times. First and foremost, of course, come the 
invaluable Paston Letters, covering the whole period, and 
often supplying the vivid touches of detail in which the 
more formal documents are so lamentably deficient. If 
but half a dozen families, as constant in letter-writing as 
John and Margery Paston, had transmitted their corre- 
spondence to posterity, there would be little need to 
grumble at our lack of information. Other letters too 
exist, scattered in collections, such as the interesting 
scrawl from Warwick himself, in his dire extremity before 
Barnet fight, to Henry Vernon, which was turned up a 
year ago among the lumber at Belvoir Castle. Much 
can be gathered from rolls and inquests — for example, 
the all-important information as to centres and sources 
of local power can be traced out with perfect accuracy 
from the columns of the Escheats Roll, where each peer 
or knight's lands are carefully set forth at the moment 
of his decease. Joining one authority to another, we 
may fairly build up the England of the fifteenth century 
before our eyes with some approach to completeness. 

The whole picture of the times is very depressing on 
the moral if not on the material side. There are few 
more pitiful episodes in history than the whole tale of the 
reign of Henry the Sixth, the most unselfish and well- 
intentioned king that ever sat upon the English throne 
— a man of whom not even his enemies and oppressors 
could find an evil word to say ; the troubles came, as 
they confessed, " all because of his false lords, and never 


of him." We feel that there must have been something 
wrong with the heart of a nation that could see unmoved 
the meek, and holy King torn from wife and child, sent 
to wander in disguise up and down the kingdom for 
which he had done his poor best, and finally doomed to 
pine for five years a prisoner in the fortress where he 
had so long held his royal Court. Nor is our first 
impression concerning the demoralisation of England 
wrong. Every line that we read bears home to us more 
and more the fact that the nation had fallen on evil 
times. First and foremost among the causes of its moral 
deterioration was the wretched French War, a war begun 
in the pure spirit of greed and ambition, — there was not 
even the poor excuse that had existed in the time of 
Edward the Third — carried on by the aid of hordes of de- 
bauched foreign mercenaries (after Henry the Fifth's death 
the native English seldom formed more than a third of 
any host that took the field in France), and persisted in 
long after it had become hopeless, partly from misplaced 
national pride, partly because of the personal interests 
of the ruling classes. Thirty-five years of a war that 
was as unjust as it was unfortunate had both soured and 
demoralised the nation. England was full of disbanded 
soldiers of fortune; of knights who had lost the ill-gotten 
lands across the Channel, where they had maintained a 
precarious lordship in the da}^s of better fortune ; of 
castellans and governors whose occupation was gone ; of 
hangers-on of all sorts who had once maintained them- 
selves on the spoils of Normandy and Guienne. Year 
after year men and money had been lavished on the 
Avar to no effect ; and when the final catastrophe came, 
and the fights of Formigny and Chatillon ended the 

WARWICK chap. 

chapter of our disasters, the nation began to cast about 
for a scapegoat on whom to lay the burden of its 
failures. The real blame lay on the nation itself, not 
on any individual ; and the real fault that had been 
committed was not the mismanagement of an enterprise 
which presented any hopes of success, but a wrong- 
headed persistence in an attempt to conquer a country 
which was too strong to be held down. However, the 
majority of the English people chose to assume firstly 
that the war with France might have been conducted to 
a prosperous issue, and secondly that certain particular 
persons were responsible for its having come to the 
opposite conclusion. At first the unfortunate Suffolk 
and Somerset had the responsibility laid upon them. A 
little later the outcry became more bold and fixed upon 
the Lancastrian dynasty itself as being to blame not only 
for disaster abroad, but for the " want of governance " 
at home. If King Henry had understood the charge, 
and possessed the wit to answer it, he might fairly have 
replied that his subjects must fit the burden upon their 
own backs, not upon his. The war had been weakly 
conducted, it was true ; but weakly because the men and 
money for it were grudged. The England that could put 
one hundred thousand men into the field in a civil broil 
at Towton sent four thousand to fight the decisive battle 
at Formigny that settled our fate in Normandy. At 
home the bulwarks of social order seemed crumbling 
away. Private wars, riot, open highway robbery, murder, 
abduction, armed resistance to the law, prevailed on a scale 
that had been unknown since the troublous times of Ed- 
ward the Second — we might almost say since the evil days 
of Stephen. But it was not the Crown alone that should 


have been blamed for the state of the realm. The nation 
had chosen to impose over-stringent constitutional checks 
on the kingly power before it was ripe for self-government, 
and the Lancastrian house sat on the throne because it 
had agreed to submit to those checks. If the result of 
the experiment was disastrous, both parties to the con- 
tract had to bear their share of the responsibility. But a 
nation seldom allows that it has been wrong ; and Henry 
of Windsor had to serve as scapegoat for all the mis- 
fortunes of the realm, because Henry of Bolingbroke had 
committed his descendants to the unhappy compact. 

Want of a strong central government was undoubtedly 
the complaint under which England was labouring in the 
middle of the fifteenth century, and all the grievances 
against which outcry was made were but symptoms of 
one latent disease. 

Ever since the death of Henry the Fifth the internal 
government of the country had been steadily going from 
bad to worse. The mischief had begun in the young King's 
earliest years. The Council of Regency that ruled in his 
name had from the first proved unable to make its 
authority felt as a single individual ruler might have 
done. With the burden of the interminable French War 
weighing upon their backs, and the divisions caused by 
the quarrels of Beaufort and Gloucester dividing them 
into factions, the councillors had not enough attention to 
spare for home government. As early as 1428 we find 
them, when confronted by the outbreak of a private war 
in the north, endeavouring to patch up the quarrel by 
arbitration, instead of punishing the offenders on each 
side. Accounts of riotous assemblages in all parts of the 
country, of armed violence at parliamentary elections, of 

8 WARWICK * chap. 

party fights in London at Parliament time — like that 
which won for the meeting of 1426 the name of the 
Parliament of Bats (bludgeons) — grow more and 
more common. We even find treasonable insurrection 
appearing in the strange obscure rising of the political 
Lollards under Jack Sharp in«*1431, an incident which 
shows how England was on the verge of bloodshed 
twenty years before the final outbreak of civil war was 
to take place. 

But all these public troubles would have been of com- 
paratively small importance if the heart of the nation 
had been sound. The phenomenon which makes the 
time so depressing is the terrible decay in private morals 
since the previous century. A steady deterioration is 
going on through the whole period, till at its end we 
find hardly a single individual in whom it is possible to 
interest ourselves, save an occasional Colet or Caxton, 
who belongs in spirit, if not date, to the oncoming 
renascence of the next century. There is no class 
or caste in England which comes well out of the 
scrutiny. The Church, which had served as the con- 
science of the nation in better times, had become dead 
to spiritual things ; it no longer produced either men of 
saintly life or learned theologians or patriotic statesmen. 
In its corporate capacity it had grown inertly orthodox. 
Destitute of any pretence of spiritual energy, yet showing 
a spirit of persecution such as it had never displayed in 
earlier centuries, its sole activity consisted in hunting to 
the stake the few men who displayed any symptoms of 
thinking for themselves in matters of religion. So great 
was the deadness of the Church that it was possible to 
fall into trouble, like Bishop Pecock, not for defending 


Lollardry, but for showing too much originality in attack- 
ing it. Individually the leading churchmen of the day 
were politicians and nothing more, nor were they as a 
rule politicians of the better sort ; for one like Beaufort, 
who was at any rate consistent and steadfast, there are 
many Bourchiers and George Nevilles and Beauchamps, 
who merely sailed with the wind and intrigued for their 
own fortunes or those of their families. 

Of the English baronage of the fifteenth century we 
shall have so much to say in future chapters that we 
need not here enlarge on its characteristics. Grown too 
few and too powerful, divided into a few rival groups, 
whose political attitude was settled by a consideration of 
family grudges and interests rather than by any grounds 
of principle, or patriotism, or loyalty, they were as unlike 
their ancestors of the days of John or Edward the First as 
their ecclesiastical contemporaries were unlike Langton or 
even Winchelsey. The baronage of England had often been 
unruly, but it had never before developed the two vices 
which distinguished it in the times of the Two Roses — a 
taste for indiscriminate bloodshed and a turn for rapid 
political apostasy. To put prisoners to death by torture 
as did Tiptoft Earl of Worcester, to desert to the enemy 
in the midst of battle like Lord Grey de Ruthyn at 
Northampton, or Stanley at Bosworth, had never before 
been the custom of England. It is impossible not to 
recognise in such traits the results of the French "War. 
Twenty years spent in contact with French factions, and 
in command of the godless mercenaries who formed the 
bulk of the English armies, had taught our nobles lessons 
of cruelty and faithlessness such as they had not before 
imbibed. Their demoralisation had been displayed in 

io WARWICK chap. 

France long ere the outbreak of civil war caused it to 
manifest itself at home. 

But if the Church was effete and the baronage 
demoralised, it might have been thought that England 
should have found salvation in the soundheartedness of 
her gentry and her burgesses. Unfortunately such was 
not to be the case. Both of these classes were growing 
in strength and importance during the century, but when 
the times of trouble came they gave no signs of aspiring 
to direct the destinies of the nation. The House of Com- 
mons which should, as representing those classes, have 
gone on developing its privileges, was, on the contrary, 
thrice as important in the reign of Henry the Fourth as 
in that of Edward the Fourth. The knights and squires 
showed on a smaller scale all of the vices of the nobility. 
Instead of holding together and maintaining a united 
loyalty to the Crown, they bound themselves by solemn 
sealed bonds and the reception of "liveries" each to the 
baron whom he preferred. This fatal system, by which 
the smaller landholder agreed on behalf of himself and 
his tenants to follow his greater neighbour in peace and 
war, had ruined the military system of England, and was 
quite as dangerous as the ancient feudalism. The salu- 
tary old usage, by which all freemen who were not 
tenants of a lord served under the sheriff in war, and not 
under the banner of any of the baronage, had long been 
forgotten. Now, if all the gentry of a county were bound 
by these voluntary indentures to serve some great lord, 
there was no national force in that county on which the 
Crown could count, for the yeoman followed the knight 
as the knight followed the baron. If the gentry consti- 
tuted themselves the voluntary followers of the baronage, 


and aided their employers to keep England unhappy, 
the class of citizens and burgesses took a very different 
line of conduct. If not actively mischievous, they were 
sordidly inert. They refused to entangle themselves in 
politics at all. They submitted impassively to each ruler 
in turn, when they had ascertained that their own 
persons and property were not endangered by so doing. 
A town, it has been remarked, seldom or never stood 
a siege during the Wars of the Roses, for no town ever 
refused to open its gates to any commander with an 
adequate force who asked for entrance. If we find a few 
exceptions to the rule, we almost always learn that 
entrance was denied not by the citizens, but by some 
garrison of the opposite side which was already within 
the walls. Loyalty seems to have been as wanting 
among the citizens as among the barons of England. If 
they generally showed some slight preference for York 
rather than for Lancaster, it was not on any moral or 
sentimental ground, but because the house of Lancaster 
was known by experience to be weak in enforcing " good 
governance," and the house of York was pledged to 
restore the strength of the Crown and to secure better 
times for trade than its rival. 

Warwick was a strong man, born at the commencement 
of Henry the Sixth's unhappy minority, whose coming of 
age coincided with the outburst of national rage caused 
by the end of the disastrous French War, whose birth 
placed him at the head of one of the great factions in 
the nobility, whose strength of body and mind enabled 
him to turn that headship to full account. How he dealt 
with the problems which inevitable necessity laid before 
him we shall endeavour to relate. 



Of all the great houses of mediaeval England, the Nevilles 
of Raby were incontestably the toughest and the most 
prolific. From the reign of John to the reign of Eliza- 
beth their heritage never once passed into the female 
line, and in all the fourteen generations which lived and 
died between 1210 and 1600 there was only one occasion 
on which the succession passed from uncle to nephew, 
and not from father to son or grandson. The vitality 
of the Neville tribe was sufficient to bear them through 
repeated marriages with those only daughters and 
heiresses whose wedlock so often forebodes the extinction 
of an ancient house. Of four successive heads of the 
family between 1250 and 1350, all married ladies who 
were the last representatives of old baronial houses ; but 
the Nevilles only grew more numerous, and spread 
into more and more branches, extending their possessions 
farther and farther from their original seat on the 
Durham moors till all the counties of the north were 
full of their manors. 

The original source of the family was a certain Robert 
Fitz-Maldred, lord of Raby, who, in the reign of John, 
married Isabella de Neville, heiress of his neighbour 


Geoffrey de Neville of Brancepeth. Robert's son Geoffrey, 
who united the Teesdale lands of his father with his 
mother's heritage hard by the gates of Durham, took 
the name of Neville, and that of Fitz-Maldred was never 
again heard in the family. The lords of Raby did not 
at first distinguish themselves in any way above the rest 
of the barons of the North Country. We find them 
from time to time going forth to the King's Scotch or 
French wars, serving in Simon de Montfort's rebel army, 
wrangling with their feudal superior the Bishop of 
Durham, slaying an occasional sheriff, and founding an 
occasional chantry, and otherwise conducting themselves 
after the manner of their kind. It was one of the house 
who led the English van against the Scots at the great 
victory of 1346, and erected the graceful monument 
which gave to the battlefield the name of Neville's 

Only two characteristics marked these Nevilles of the 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries; the largeness of their 
families — three successive lords of Raby boasted respect- 
ively of ten, eleven, and nine children — and their never- 
ending success in laying field by field and manor by 
manor. Robert Neville, who in the time of Henry the 
Third married Ida Mitford, added to his Durham lands 
his wife's broad Northumbrian barony in the valley of 
the Wansbeck. His son of the same name made Neville 
one of the greatest names in Yorkshire, when he wedded 
Mary of Middleham, and became in her right lord of 
Middleham Castle and all the manors dependent on it, 
reaching for a dozen miles along the Ure and running 
up to the farthest bounds of the forest of Coverdale. 
Robert the younger's Iieir, Ralph, emulated the good 

14 WARWICK chap. 

fortune of his father and grandfather by securing as his 
wife Euphemia, heiress of Clavering, who brought him 
not only the half-hundred of Clavering in Essex, but the 
less remote and more valuable lands of Warkworth on the 
Northumbrian coast. Balph's son John, though he 
married as his first wife a younger daughter of the 
house of Percy, secured as his second Elizabeth Latimer, 
heiress of an old baronial house whose domains \dcy 
scattered about Bucks and Bedfordshire. 

Four generations of wealthy marriages had made the 
Nevilles the greatest lords in all the North Country. Even 
their neighbours, the Percies of Northumberland, were not 
so strong. The "saltire argent on the field gules," and the 
dun bull, the two Neville badges, were borne by hosts of 
retainers. Three hundred men-at-arms, of whom fourteen 
were knights and three hundred archers, followed the lord 
of Paby even when he went so far afield as Brittany. For 
home service against the Scots he could muster thrice as 
many. More than seventy manors were in his hands, some 
spread far and wide in Essex, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, and 
Buckinghamshire, but the great bulk of them lying massed 
in North Yorkshire and South Durham, around Baby and 
Middleham, the two strong castles which were the centres 
of his influence. Hence it was not surprising that King 
Pichard the Second, when he lavished titles and honours 
broadcast on the nobility after his surprising coup aVdtat 
of 1397, should have singled out the head of the Nevilles 
for conciliation and preferment. Accordingly, Palph 
Neville, then in the thirty -fourth year of his age, was 
raised to the dignity of an earl. Curiously enough, he 
could not be given the designation of either of the 
counties where the bulk of his broad lands lay. The 


earldom of Durham was, now as always, in the hands of 
its bishop, comes palatinus of the county since the days of 
William the Conqueror. The titles of York and of 
Richmondshire, wherein lay the other great stretch of 
Neville land, were vested in members of the royal house. 
The Percies had twenty years before received the title 
of Northumberland, the third county where the Nevilles 
held considerable property. Hence Ralph of Raby had 
to be put off' with the title of Westmoreland, though in 
that county he seems, curiously enough, not to have 
held a single manor. The gift of the earldom was 
accompanied with the more tangible present of the royal 
honour of Penrith. 

All these favours, however, did not buy the loyalty of 
Ralph Neville. He was married to one of John of Gaunt's 
daughters by Katherine Swinford, and was at heart a 
strong partisan of the house of Lancaster. Accordingly, 
when Henry of Bolingbroke landed at Ravenspur in 
July 1399, Westmoreland was one of the first to join 
him ; he rode with him to Flint, saw the surrender 
of King Richard, and bore the royal sceptre at the 
usurper's coronation at Westminster. Henry rewarded 
his services by making him Earl Marshal in place of the 
exiled Duke of Norfolk. 

Earl Ralph went on in a prosperous career, aided 
King Henry against the rising of the Percies in 1403, 
and committed himself more firmly than ever to the 
cause of the house of Lancaster by putting down the 
insurrection which Scrope, Mowbray, and the aged Nor- 
thumberland had raised in 1405. Twice he served King 
Henry as ambassador to treat with the Scots, and twice 
the custody of the Border was committed to him as 

1 6 WARWICK chap. 

warden. When Bolingbroke died, and Henry of Mon- 
mouth succeeded him, Earl Ralph was no less firm and 
faithful. At the famous Parliament of Leicester in 
1414, when the glorious but fatal war with France was 
resolved upon, he was one of the few who withstood the 
arguments of Archbishop Chicheley and the appeals of 
the Duke of Exeter and gave their voices against the 
expedition. He besought the King that, if he must 
needs make war, he should attack Scotland rather than 
France, the English title to that crown being as good, 
the enterprise more hopeful, and the result more likely 
to bring permanent profit, while — quoting an old popular 
rhyme — he ended by saying that 

He that wolde France win, must with Scotland first begin. 

But all men cried " War ! War ! France ! France !" The 
ambitious young King had his will ; and the next spring 
there sailed from Southampton the first of those many 
gallant hosts of Englishmen who were to win so many 
fruitless battles to their country's final loss, and leave 
their bones behind to moulder in French soil, in the 
trenches of Harfleur and Orleans or on the fields of 
Beauge" and Patay. 

Every reader of Shakespeare has met Earl Ralph in 
the English camp on the eve of the battle of Agincourt, 
remembers his downhearted wish for a few thousands 
of the "gentlemen of England now abed," and can 
repeat by heart the young King's stirring reply to 
his uncle's forebodings. But, in fact, Earl Ralph was 
not at Agincourt, nor did he even cross the sea. He 
had been left behind with Lord Scrope and the Baron 
of Greystock to keep the Scottish March, and was far 


away at Carlisle when Henry's little band of English 
were waiting for the dawn on that eventful St. Crispin's 
day. Unless tradition errs, it was really Walter of 
Hungerford who made the speech that drew down his 
master's chiding. 

Ralph was now growing an old man as the men of 
the fifteenth century reckoned old age ; and while the bril- 
liant campaigns of Henry the Fifth were in progress abode 
at home, busied with statecraft rather than with Avar. 
But his sons, and they were a numerous tribe, were one 
after another sent across the seas to join their royal 
cousin. John, the heir of Westmoreland, was serving 
all through the campaigns of 1417-18, and was made 
governor of Verneuil and other places in its neighbour- 
hood, after having held the trenches opposite the Porte 
de Normandie during the long siege of Rouen, and 
assisted also at the leaguer of Caen. Ralph, Richard, 
William, and George are found following in their elder 
brother's footsteps as each of them arrived at the years 
of manhood, and all earned their knighthood by services 
done in France. 

Meanwhile Earl Ralph, after surviving his royal nephew 
some three years, and serving for a few months as one 
of the Privy Council that governed in the name of the 
infant Henry the Sixth, died on October 21st, 1125, at 
the age of sixty-two, and was buried in the beautiful 
collegiate church which he had founded at Staindrop, 
hard by the gates of his ancestral castle of Raby. There 
his monument still remains, escaped by good fortune 
from the vandalism of Edwardian and Cromwellian 
Protestants. He lies in full armour, wearing the peaked 
basinet that was customary in his younger days, though 


1 8 WARWICK chap, ii 

it had gone out of fashion ere his death. His regular 
features have little trace of real portraiture, and show 
no signs of his advancing years, so that we may conclude 
that the sculptor had never been acquainted with the 
man he was representing. Only the short twisted 
moustache, curling over the mail of the Earl's camail, 
has something of individuality, and must have corre- 
sponded to the life; for by 1425 all the men of the 
younger generation were close shaven, like King Henry 
the Fifth. On Earl Ealph's right hand, as befitted a 
princess of the blood royal, lies his second wife Joan of 
Beaufort ; on his left Margaret Stafford, the bride of his 
youth and the mother of his heir. 



Earl Ralph, surpassing all his keen and prolific ancestors 
not only in the success with which he pushed his fortunes, 
but in the enormous family which he reared, had become 
the father of no less than twenty-three children by his 
two wives. Nine were the offspring of Margaret of 
Stafford, fourteen of Joan of Beaufort. John, the heir 
of Westmoreland, had died a few years before his father, 
and the earldom passed to his son, Ralph the second, 
now a lad of about eighteen. But the greater number 
of the other twenty -two children still survived, and 
their fortunes influenced the after history both of the 
house of Neville and the kingdom of England to such 
an extent that they need careful statement. 

The old Earl had turned all his energies into negotiat- 
ing the marriages of his children, and partly by the favour 
of the two Henries, partly by judicious buying up of ward- 
ships in accordance with the practice of the fifteenth cen- 
tury, partly by playing on the desire of his neighbours to 
be allied to the greatest house of the North Country, he had 
succeeded in establishing a compact family group, which 
was already by 1425 one of the factors to be reckoned 
with in English politics. The most important of these 

20 WARWICK chap. 

connections by far was the wedding of his youngest 
daughter Cecily to Richard Duke of York — a marriage 
brought about by royal favour shortly before the Earl's 
death, while both the contracting parties were mere 
children; the Duke some eleven years old, the little bride 
about nine. 1 By this union Ralph of Westmoreland was 
destined to become the ancestor of a score of kings and 
queens of England. It bound the house of Neville to 
the Yorkist cause, and led away the children of Ralph 
from that loyalty to Lancaster which had been the 
cause of their father's greatness. But at the time when 
the marriage was brought about no one could well have 
foreseen the Wars of the Roses, and we may acquit the 
Earl of any design greater than that of increasing the 
prosperity of his house by another marriage with a 
younger branch of the royal stock. His own union 
with Joan of Beaufort had served him so well, that he 
could desire nothing better for the next generation. 
The elder brothers and sisters of Cecily of York, 
if their alliances were less exalted than hers, were yet 
wedded, almost without exception, to the most important 
members of the baronage. 

Of the elder family, the offspring of Earl Ralph 
by Margaret of Stafford, the second son Ralph Neville 
of Biwell married the co-heiress of Ferrers. One sister 
died young, another became a nun, but four of the 
remaining five were married to the heirs of the houses 
of Mauley, Dacre, Scrope of Bolton, and Kyme. The 

1 Cecily is called Duchess of York in Earl's Ralph's will, so 
the children must therefore have been already married ; but the 
consummation of the marriage was not till about 1438, when he 
was twenty-six and she twenty-three years of age. 


younger family, the children of Joan of Beaufort, made 
even more fortunate marriages. Of the daughters, the 
youngest, as we have stated above, wedded Richard of 
York. Her elder sisters were united respectively to 
John Mowbray Duke of Norfolk, Humphrey Stafford 
Duke of Buckingham, and Henry Percy Earl of North- 
umberland — the grandson of Earl Ralph's old enemy 
and the son of Hotspur. Of the six sons of Joan of 
Beaufort, Richard the eldest married Alice Monta- 
cute, heiress of the earldom of Salisbury, and became 
by her the father of the Kingmaker ; with him we 
shall have much to do. William, the second son, won 
the heiress of Fauconbridge. George, the third son, was 
made the heir of his half -uncle John Lord Latimer, and 
by special grant succeeded to his uncle's barony. Robert 
entered the Church, and by judicious family backing 
became Bishop of Salisbury before he had reached his 
twenty -fifth year, only to be transplanted ten years 
later to Durham, the most powerful of the English 
bishoprics, whose palatine rights he could thus turn to 
the use of his numerous kindred. Finally, Edward, the 
youngest brother, secured Elizabeth Beauchamp, heiress 
of Abergavenny. 

The numbers of the English baronage had been 
rapidly decreasing since the reign of the third Edward, 
and in the early years of Henry the Sixth the total num- 
ber of peers summoned to a Parliament never exceeded 
thirty-five. Among this small muster could be counted 
one grandson, three sons, and five sons-in-law of Earl 
Ralph. 1 A little later, one son and one grandson more 

1 The grandson was Ralph Earl of Westmoreland ; the sons, 
Richard of Salisbury, William of Fauconbridge, and George of 


were added to the peers of the Neville kindred, and it 
seemed probable that by the marriages of the next 
generation half the English House of Lords would be 
found to descend from the prolific stock of Eaby. 

In the first twenty years of the reign of Henry of 
Windsor, while the young King's personal weakness was 
not yet known, while his uncle of Bedford and his great- 
uncle of Winchester stood beside the throne, and while 
the war in France — though the balance had long turned 
against England — was still far from its disastrous end, 
the confederacies of the great baronial houses were of 
comparatively little importance. The fatal question of 
the succession to the Crown was still asleep, for the 
young King was only just nearing manhood, and might, 
for all that men knew, be the parent of as many war- 
like sons as his grandfather. It was not till Henry's 
nine j^ears of barren wedlock, from 1445 to 1454, 
set the minds of his nobles running on the problem 
of the succession, that the peace of England was really 

Richard Neville, the eldest of the sons of Earl Ralph's 
second marriage, was born in 1399. He was too young 
to follow King Henry to the siege of Harfleur and the 
fight of Agincourt, but a few years later he accompanied 
his half-brother John, the heir of Westmoreland, to the 
wars of France. It was not in France, however, that the 
years of his early manhood were to be spent, but on 
the Scotch Border in the company of his father. When 

Latimer; the sons-in-law, the Dukes of York, Norfolk, and 
Buckingham, the Earl of Northumberland, and Lord Dacre. 
Later, Edward Neville Lord Abergavenny, and Roger Lord Scrope, 
■appear ; the first a son, the second a grandson. 


he came of age and was knighted in 1420 he was made 
the colleague of the old Earl in the wardenship of the 
Western Marches. This office he retained for several 
years, and was in consequence much mixed up with 
Scotch affairs, twice acting as commissioner to treat with 
the Regent of Scotland, and escorting James the First to 
the border of his kingdom when the English Council 
released him from his long captivity. We hear of him 
occasionally at Court, as when, for example, he acted as 
carver at the Coronation Banquet of the newly-wed 
Queen Catherine, a ceremony which, according to 
Monstrelet, "was performed with such splendid magni- 
ficence that the like had never been seen since the time 
of that noble knight Arthur, King of the English and 

Richard had reached the age of twenty-six when, in 
1425, he married Alice, the only child of Thomas Monta- 
cute Earl of Salisbury, who had just reached her 
eighteenth year. The Montacutes were not among the 
wealthiest of the English earls — for his faithful adherence 
to Richard the Second the last head of the house had lost 
his life and his estates ; and although his son had been 
restored in blood, and had received back many of the 
Montacute lands, }^et the list of his manors in the 
Escheats Roll reads poorly enough beside those of the 
Earls of Norfolk and Devon, March and Arundell. 
Earl Thomas, in spite of his father's fate, had consented 
to serve the house of Lancaster. 

In 1425, as we have already mentioned, the old Earl, 
Ralph of Westmoreland, died. In his will, which has 
been preserved, we find that he left his son Richard 
little enough — " two chargers, twelve dishes, and a great 

24 WARWICK chap. 

ewer and basin of silver, a bed of Arras, with red, 
white, and green hangings, and four untrained horses, 
the best that should be found in his stable." Evidently 
he thought that he need do nothing for this son on 
whom the earldom of Salisbury was bound to devolve. 
It was only to Ralph and Edward, the two among his 
surviving sons who had not yet inherited land from 
their wives, that the old Earl demised the baronies of 
Biwell and Winlayton, two of his outlying estates. 

But in another respect the will of Earl Ralph was 
destined to prove a source of many heart-burnings in 
the house of Neville, and fated to break up the strict 
family alliance which made its strength. While he left 
the Durham lands of Neville, round his ancestral castle, 
of Raby, to his grandson and heir, Ralph the second, he 
made over the larger part of his Yorkshire possessions not 
to the young Earl, but as jointure to his widow, Joan of 
Beaufort, the mother of Richard and the other thirteen 
children of his second family. The Countess, once 
mistress of Sherif Hoton Castle and the other North - 
Riding lands of Neville, had no thought of letting them 
pass away from her own sons to the descendants of her 
husband's first wife. They were destined to be diverted 
from the elder to the younger family. Here lay the 
source of many future troubles, but while the young 
Earl Ralph was still a minor the matter did not come to 
a head. 

Three years after he lost his father, Richard Neville 
heard of the death of his father-in-law. The Earl of 
Salisbury had been appointed by John of Bedford 
Captain-General of all the English forces in France, and 
gathering together ten thousand men, all that the 


Regent could spare, had marched to the fatal siege of 
Orleans. There in the early days of the leaguer, six 
months before Joan the Maid came to the rescue of the 
garrison, he had met his death. As he watched the 
walls from the tower on the bridge over the Loire, a 
stone shot had torn away half his face ; he died in a few 
days, exhorting his officers with his last breath to per- 
severe in the attack 

Thus Richard Neville became by the death of his 
father-in-law Earl of Salisbury and master of the lands of 
Montacute. They lay, for the most part, on the borders 
of Wiltshire and Hampshire, between Ringwood and 
Amesbury, in the valleys of the Bourn and Avon. The 
castles of Christchurch and Trowbridge were the most 
important part of the heritage from the military point of 
view. Some scattered manors in Berkshire, Dorset, and 
Somerset served to swell its value. Richard, now become 
a considerable South Country baron, at once did homage 
for his wife's lands, and was summoned as Earl of 
Salisbury to the next Parliament, that of 1429. At the 
same meeting at which he took his seat his nephew, 
Ralph the younger of Westmoreland, also appeared for 
the first time, having now passed his minority and 
entered into possession of such of the Neville lands as 
had not been left to his step-mother. 

It was beyond doubt the alienation of these lands 
which led to the estrangement between the younger and 
the elder Nevilles which we soon after find taking visible 
form in troubles in the North. Ralph, marrying a sister 
of Henry Earl of Northumberland, became the firm 
friend and ally of that house of Percy which his grand- 
father had done so much to humble. Richard kept up 

26 WARWICK chap. 

the old feud, and was always found on the opposite side 
from his nephew. Presently (the exact year of the com- 
mencement of the quarrel is uncertain, but it was at its 
height in 1435) we find them at actual blows in a manner 
which brings out the fact that the "good and strong 
governance," which Parliament after Parliament sighed 
for in the reign of Henry the Sixth, had already become a 
hopeless dream. Plaints come down from the North to the 
Lord Chancellor that " owing to the grievous differences 
which have arisen between Ralph Earl of Westmoreland, 
and his brothers John and Thomas on the one hand, 
and Joan Dowager -Countess of Westmoreland and her 
son Richard Earl of Salisbury, on the other hand, have 
of late assembled, by manner of war and insurrection, 
great routs and companies upon the field, which have 
done all manner of great offences as well in slaughter 
and destruction of the King's lieges as otherwise, which 
things are greatly against the estate and weal and peace 
of this Royaume of England." 

Of the details of this local war in Yorkshire we know 
nothing. Some sort of accommodation was patched up, 
by three arbitrators named by the Privy Council, for the 
moment between uncle and nephew; but the grudge 
rankled, and if ever England should be rent by civil 
war, it took no prophet to foretell that the two Neville 
earls would be found in opposite camps. 

The old Countess Joan of Westmoreland died in 1440, 
and left, as was natural, Middleham, Sherif Hoton, 
and all the other lands of her jointure to her eldest son. 
Richard of Salisbury thus became a much greater land- 
holder in the North than he already was in the South. 
His Hampshire and Wiltshire fiefs are for the future the 


less important centre of his strength. Sherif Hoton 
becomes his favourite residence, and it is always as a 
power in Yorkshire, not in Wessex, that he is mentioned 
by the chroniclers of the day. 

Neither of the Neville earls took any prominent part 
in the never-ending French War. Ealph of Westmore- 
land seems to have been wanting both in the appetite 
for war and the keen eye for the main chance which had 
hitherto distinguished the lords of Eaby. It was his 
younger brother John who was the fighting man of the 
older branch of Neville. Earl Richard, on the other 
hand, was energetic enough, but seems to have preferred 
to push his fortunes at home, rather than to risk his 
reputation in the unlucky wars where Somerset and 
Suffolk and so many more earned ill -fame and unpopu- 
larity. We hear of him most often on the Scottish 
Border, where he seems to have succeeded to the com- 
manding position that had once been held by his father. 
He was Captain of Berwick, and served as Warden both 
of the Eastern and Western Marches, till at the end of 
1435 he was sent as ambassador extraordinary to Edin- 
burgh. James the First, with whom he had to settle 
some matters of Border feud, was his own connection, for 
Salisbury's mother was aunt of Joan Beaufort, the } 7 oung 
Queen of Scots. After quitting King James, only a few 
months before his cruel murder at Perth, Earl Richard 
went on an embassy of far greater importance, being 
sent to France, along with his young brother-in-law the 
Duke of York, to endeavour to patch up some agreement 
that might end the series of disasters which had com- 
menced with the death of the Duke of Bedford in the 
previous year. His mission failed, as indeed all missions 

28 WARWICK chap, in 

were bound to do that made after the treaty of Arras 
the same demands which the French had refused before 
it. Nevertheless, on his return, in 1437, Salisbury was 
made a member of the Privy Council, and took his seat 
in the body which ever since 1422 had been directing 
the fortunes of England. 

This appointment fixed Salisbury in London for 
the greater part of the next ten years. We find from 
the records of the Privy Council that he was almost 
as regular an attendant at its meetings as was Cardinal 
Beaufort himself, the practical Prime Minister of the 
realm. His signature appears at the foot of countless 
documents, and his activity and appetite for business 
seem to have been most exemplary. So far as we can 
judge of his action, he appears to have sided with the great 
Cardinal, and not with the Opposition which centred 
round Humphrey Duke of Gloucester ; but factions had 
not fully developed themselves as yet in the Council, and 
the definite parties which existed a few years later were 
only just beginning to sketch themselves out. 



Richard, the second child but eldest son of Richard 
Neville of Salisbury and Alice Montacute, was born on 
November 22nd, 1428, just nineteen days after his 
grandfather had fallen at the siege of Orleans. We 
know absolutely nothing of his childhood — not even 
the place of his birth is recorded. We must suppose, 
but cannot prove, that his earliest days were passed on 
his mother's lands in Wessex, in moving about between 
Amesbury, Christchurch, and Ringwood as his parents' 
household made its periodical peregrinations from manor 
to manor according to the universal practice of the time. 
As a boy he must have visited his paternal grand- 
mother, Joan of Beaufort, on her Yorkshire estates, 
when his father was fixed in the North as Warden of the 
Scotch Border. There probably he may have imbibed 
some of the old lady's dislike for her step-sons of the 
elder branch of the Nevilles, with whom she and his 
father were now at open variance. A little later he 
must have spent much time in London, when his father 
became a member of the Council of Regency, lodged at 
the " Tenement called the Harbour in the Ward of 
Dowgate," which his father and grandmother had 

30 WARWICK chap. 

received by will from his grandfather when the larger 
London house of the family, " Neville's Inn in Silver 
Street," passed with the Westmoreland earldom to the 
elder branch. 

The fortunes of the house of Neville, as we have told 
them hitherto, have consisted of one interminable story 
of fortunate marriages. The reader must now be asked 
to concentrate his attention on another group of these 
alliances, a group which settled the whole history of the 
Kingmaker, and gave him the title of the earldom 
by which he is always named. 

The Beauchamps of Warwick held one of the oldest 
English earldoms ; they represented in direct descent 
the Henry of Newburgh to whom William Rufus had 
granted the county in 1190. 1 Richard Beauchamp, the 
head of the family at this time, was perhaps the worthiest 
and the most esteemed of the English nobles of his day. 
The "gracious Warwick," the "father of courtesy" as 
the Emperor Sigismund called him, had been through all 
the wars of Henry the Fifth, and won therein a name only 
second to that of the King himself. He had seen many 
cities and men in every land that lay between England 
and Palestine, and left everywhere behind him a good 
report. His virtues and accomplishments had caused 
him to be singled out as tutor and governor to the young 
King, Henry the Sixth ; no better model, as all agreed, 
could be found for the ruler of England to copy. Nor 
did Warwick belie his task ; he made Henry upright, 
learned, painstaking, conscientious to a fault. If he 

1 The Beauchamps came into the title in 1268, William de 
Beauchamp having married the grand-daughter of Henry of New- 
burjrh, whose male issue had died out. 


could but have made him as strong in body and spirit 
as he was morally, he would have given England the 
best king that ever she possessed. 

Richard Beauchamp had married Isabel, heiress of 
Despenser, and widow of Richard, Lord of Abergavenny. 
Their family consisted of a son, Henry, a boy of ten, 
and a daughter, Anne, three years younger. In addition, 
the Countess of Warwick had an only daughter by her 
first husband, who was heiress of Abergavenny. Beau- 
champ and Richard Neville of Salisbury were the best of 
friends, and had determined to seal their friendship by 
intermarriage between their families. The alliance was 
destined to be complicated ; each earl married his heir 
to his friend's daughter. The boy Henry, heir of War- 
wick, was affianced to Cecily Neville, Salisbury's six- 
year-old daughter ; the boy Richard, heir of Salisbury, 
to Anne Beauchamp, daughter of Warwick. Nor was 
this all ; the family relations were complicated by the 
marriage of Warwick's step -daughter Elizabeth, the 
heiress of Abergavenny, to Edward Neville the younger 
brother of Salisbury. 

The boy Richard Neville received a competent dowry 
with his wife, but nothing more was expected to follow 
from the marriage. Fate, however, decreed otherwise. 

The old Earl of Warwick died in 1439, full of years 
and honours. To him succeeded his son Henry, the 
husband of Cecily Neville, now sixteen years of age, 
and " a seemly lord of person." He had been brought 
up with the young King, a lad of his own years, and 
was Henry of Lancaster's bosom friend. When the 
King came of age he heaped on the young Beauchamp 
every honour that his affection could devise. Not only 

32 WARWICK chap. 

was he made Knight of the Garter and a Privy Council- 
lor before he was nineteen, but he was created Duke of 
Warwick, and invested by the King's own hands with 
the lordship of the Isle of Wight. If Henry Beauchamp 
had lived, it would have been he, and not Suffolk and 
Somerset, who in a few years would have ruled England. 
But his career was broken in its earliest promise. Ere 
he had finished his twenty-third year Henry Beauchamp 
was cut off from the land of the living, and his lands 
and duchy devolved on his only child, a little girl but 
four years of age. Her wardship fell to William de la 
Pole Earl of Suffolk, already the declared adversary of 
Salisbury and the Neville family. 

By the wholly unexpected death of Henry Beau- 
champ only this one frail life lay between the lad 
Richard Neville — he was sixteen when his brother-in-law 
died— and the earldom of Warwick. Nor was that life 
to continue long. The child Anne Beauchamp survived 
for three years more, and then died, aged seven, on 
June 23rd, 1449. She was buried by her grandam 
Constance, daughter of Edmund Duke of York, before 
the high altar of Reading Abbey. 

The heiress of Warwick was now the elder Anne, 
Richard Neville's young wife, 1 and in her right Richard 
received the Beauchamp lands from the unwilling hands 
of the little countess's guardian, Suffolk. The patent 
which created him Earl of Warwick, and joined his wife 
in the grant, was dated July 23rd, 1449. 

1 Aime was the only heir of the full blood to Henry Duke of 
AVarwick, but he had several half-sisters, to whom the reversion of 
the title was left by the patent which gave Richard and Anne 
Neville the earldom. 


Thus, in the year in which he reached his twenty-first 
birthday, the future Kingmaker became "Earl of Warwick, 
Newburgh, and Aumarle, Premier Earl of England, Baron 
of Elmley and Hanslape, and Lord of Glamorgan and 
Morgannoc." He was now a much more important 
personage than his own father, for the Beauchamp and 
Despenser manors in the West Midlands and the Welsh 
Marches were broader by far than the Montacute lands 
in Wessex, or the Neville holding round Middleham. 

A short survey of the items of the Beauchamp heritage 
is necessary to show how wide-spread was the power 
which was now placed in the hands of the young Ei chard 
Neville. Perhaps the most compact block of his new 
possessions was the old Despenser holding in South 
Wales and Herefordshire, which included the castles of 
Cardiff, Neath, Caerphilly, Llantrussant, Seyntweonard, 
Ewyas Lacy, Castle -Dinas, Snodhill, Whitchurch, and 
Maud's Castle. Caerphilly alone was a stronghold fit to 
resist ten thousand men, with its tremendous rings of 
concentric fortification ; and the massive Norman masonry 
of Cardiff was still ready for good service. Between Neath 
and Ewyas Lacy lay no less than fifty manors of the Des- 
penser heritage. In Gloucestershire was another group of 
estates which the Beauchampshad got from the Despensers 
— of which the chief were the wide and populous manors of 
Tewkesbury, Sodbury, Fairford, Whittington, Chedworth, 
Wickwar, and Lydney. In Worcestershire there was a 
compact block of land along the Severn and on both its 
banks ; the largest manors included in it were Upton- 
on-Severn, Hanley Castle, and Bewdley, but there were 
twenty-four more estates of less importance, together with 
the Castle of Elmley, which had given the Beauchamps a 


34 WARWICK chap. 

baron's title. In Warwickshire, beside the fair town and 
castle which went with the earldom, there were not any 
very broad tracts of land — only nine manors in all, but 
one of these was the wealthy manor of Tamworth. 
Going farther south in the Midlands we find in Oxford- 
shire five manors and the forest of Wychwood reckoned 
to the Beauchamps, and in Buckinghamshire the baronial 
seat of Hanslape and seven manors more. Nor was it 
only in central England that Richard Neville could 
count his estates ; there were scattered holdings accru- 
ing to him in Kent, Hampshire, Sussex, Essex, Hertford- 
shire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Somerset, 
Devon, Cornwall, Northampton, Stafford, Cambridge, 
Rutland, and Nottingham, amounting in all to forty- 
eight manors. Even in the distant North one isolated 
possession fell to him — the castle of Barnard's-Castle on 
the Tees. If in addition to the manors we began to 
count up the scattered knights' fees, the advowsons of 
churches, the chantries, the patronage of abbeys, and 
the tenements in towns, which formed part of the 
Beauchamp heritage, we should never be done ; but 
these are all written in the Escheats Roll, whence the 
antiquary may excavate them at his will. 

The year 1449, in which Richard Neville attained 
his majority and gathered in his wife's heritage, was the 
turning-point in the reign of Henry the Sixth. No more 
critical time could have been found in the whole century 
in which to place power and influence in the hands of a 
young, able, and ambitious man. For it was in 1449 that 
the doom of the house of Lancaster was settled by the 
final collapse of the English domination in France. In 
March came the fatal attack on Fougeres which reopened 

iv THE YEAR 1449 35 

the war, an attack of which it is hard to say whether it 
was more foolish or wicked. In August, September, 
and October occurred with bewildering rapidity the fall 
of the great towns of eastern and central Normandy, 
ending with the capitulation of Rouen after a siege of 
only nineteen days. 

It was this unparalleled series of disasters which made 
the existing Lancastrian rule unbearable to the English 
nation. Suffolk, the minister whose policy had led up 
to the disaster, and Somerset, the governor whose avarice 
had depleted the Norman garrisons, and whose rashness 
and ill faith had precipitated the outbreak of hostilities, 
were henceforth pursued by the bitter hatred of the 
majority of Englishmen. When it was found that King 
Henry identified their cause with his own, he himself — ■ 
against whom no one had previously breathed a word — 
found for the first time that the current of public opinion 
was setting against him. 

It was now that the final scission of the two parties 
that were afterwards to be known as Yorkist and 
Lancastrian took place. Every man of note in England 
had now to make his choice whether his personal 
loyalty to the King should lead him into acquiescing in 
the continuance in office of the ministers whom Henry 
openly favoured, or whether he would set himself in 
opposition to the Court faction, even though he was 
thereby led into opposition to the King. 

From the first moment there was no doubt which of 
the two courses would be adopted by the two Neville 
earls of the younger branch. Warwick, now as always, 
acted in strict union with his father, and Salisbury had 
never been a friend of Suffolk. Moreover, they were 

36 WARWICK chap. 

both concerned in behalf of their relative the Duke of 
York, who by Somerset's contrivance had been sent into 
a kind of honorary exile in Ireland. When the crisis 
should come, it was already pretty certain that Salisbury 
and Warwick would be found on the side of York, and 
not on that of Suffolk and Somerset. But as yet, though 
men were growing excited and preparing for evil times, 
no one foresaw the exact shape which the troubles were 
to take. One thing only was certain, that Suffolk and 
Somerset were growing so hateful to the nation that an 
explosion against them would soon take place, and that 
when the explosion came there would be a large party 
among the leading men of England who would rejoice in 
its effects. 

The most ominous sign of the times was that the 
great barons on both sides were already quietly arming, 
seeing to the numbers of their retainers, and concluding 
agreements to take their neighbours into their livery if 
the worst should come to the worst. 

Nothing can be a more typical sign of the times than 
the treaty which Salisbury entered into with a West- 
moreland knight, whose lands lay not far from his great 
holding in the North-Riding, as early as September 1449, 
the very month when Somerset was losing Normandy. 

"This indenture made between Richard Earl of 
Salisbury, on the one part, and Walter Strykelande 
knight, on the other, beareth witness that the said Walter 
is retained and withholded with the Said Earl for the 
term of his life, against all folk, saving his allegiance to 
the Kins:. And the said Walter shall be well and con- 


veniently horsed, arme^ and arrayed, and always ready 
to bide come and go with to and for the said Earl, at all 


times and places, as well in time of peace as time of war, 
at the wages of the same Earl." Walter's following was 
worth having, being "servants, tenants, and inhabitants 
within the county of Westmoreland ; bowmen with horse 
and harness, sixty-nine ; billmen horsed and harnessed, 
seventy-four ; bowmen without horses, seventy-one ; bill- 
men without horses, seventy-six" — in fact a little army 
of two hundred and ninety men. The existence of a few 
such treaties as this between Salisbury and his northern 
neighbours shows clearly enough how the Neville power 
was built up, and how formidable to the public peace it 
might become. If once such treaties were in existence, 
how long would it be before the single clause " saving his 
allegiance " would begin to drop into oblivion 1 



If 1449, the year of Warwick's accession to his wife's 
heritage, was a time of trouble for England, the year 
which immediately followed was far worse. The loss of 
the Norman fortresses was followed in a few months by 
the sporadic outbreaks of popular rage which might have 
been expected — outbreaks directed against all who could 
in any way be connected with the evil governance of the 
realm. Bishop Moleyns, the Keeper of the Privy Seal, 
was murdered by a mob of mutinous sailors at Ports- 
mouth in January. But this blow was only a premoni- 
tory symptom of the storm which was brewing against 
Suffolk, the head of the Government. Four months 
later — the fatal battle of Formigny had been fought mean- 
while, and the last English foothold in Northern France 
lost — he was driven from power by an irresistible demon- 
stration of wrath, in which the whole nation, from the 
House of Lords to the London mob, took its part. 
Protected from legal punishment by the King's pardon, 
Suffolk fled over-sea; but some London ships waylaid 
him in the Straits of Dover, and he was seized and put 
to death after a mock trial by the captain of the Nicholas 
of the Tower. So well hated was he that his tragic end 

chap, v CADE'S RISING 39 

was received with exultation instead of remorse, and the 
political ballad-mongers of the day wrote many an in- 
sulting rhyme over his headless corpse. 

Instead of mending matters, Suffolk's death was only 
the signal for worse troubles. Two months after his 
death came the great rebellion of the Kentishmen under 
Cade, accompanied by various other outbreaks in the 
southern counties. The insurgents were inspired by the 
same impulse which had slain Suffolk ; they were set on 
making an end of all who had been responsible for the 
late disaster abroad and misgovernment at home. In 
London, Lord Say the Treasurer was caught and slain ; 
in "Wiltshire, Bishop Ayscough was beheaded by a mob 
of his own tenantry. But the rising, being but a sudden 
ebullition of rage with no plan or programme of reform, 
and being headed not by any respectable leader but 
merely by the disreputable adventurer Cade, died down 
of its own accord, without leaving any permanent effect 
on the governance of the realm. To make its power 
felt, the national discontent had to look for a responsible 
leader and a definite programme. 

Both the Court party and the people knew where that 
leader might be found. Eichard Duke of York, the 
heir-apparent to the childless King, lay across the sea in 
Ireland. He was an able soldier, much tried in the 
French wars, a firm and successful administrator — he 
had even succeeded in winning popularity in Ireland — 
and a man of blameless character, who had completely 
won the nation's confidence. Moreover, he was a man 
with a grievance ; though the first prince of the blood, 
he was deliberately excluded from all place in the King's 
councils or share in the administration of the realm. 

40 WARWICK chap. 

While in the midst of a successful campaign in France 
he had been superseded by the unlucky Somerset, and 
sent off to Ireland, apparently in the idea that like most 
other rulers of that distressful country he would wreck 
his reputation there. But he had been fortunate, and 
only increased his fame by the administration of the 
island. Already the Court party were murmuring 
against him once more, and the joeople believed that 
some other exile would ere long be found for him. As 
the ballad-monger sang — 

The falcon flies and has no rest 

Till he wot where he may build his nest. 

Cade's rebels had used the Duke's name largely in 
their proclamations, but there seems no real ground for 
supposing that they had held any communication with 
him. The only evidence against him was that all dis- 
contented parties and persons spoke of him as the man 
that should right them some day. Nevertheless threats 
were made that he should be indicted for high treason, 
and action against him was apparently imminent. Then 
at last York took the initiative. He threw up the 
government of Ireland, crossed over to Wales, and came 
up to London with a considerable body of his tenants 
from the Marches at his back. There he claimed and 
obtained an interview with the King, in which he 
declared his loyalty, and received Henry's assurance 
that no harm was intended against him. This done, he 
retired to his estates on the Welsh border. But he had 
now definitely put himself at the head of the opposition 
to the Court part}', whom he had bitterly rated in his 
remonstrance to the King. 


The discontent of England had found its mouthpiece 
and its leader in this resolute prince, " a man of low 
stature, with a short square face, and somewhat stout 
of body," like his uncle Edmund of York, who had 
fallen at Agincourt rather stifled in his armour than 
slain by his wounds. 

Our whole view of the conduct of Warwick in the 
ten years between 1450 and 1460 must be determined 
by our decision as to the designs and conduct of his 
uncle of York during that period. If we conclude that 
the Duke was aiming at the crown from the first, then 
we cannot but believe that his brother-in-law Salisbury 
and his nephew Warwick must have known or guessed 
his wishes, and on them must rest almost as great a 
share of blame for the outbreak of the Civil War as lies 
on the head of York himself. For the gain of their 
family we must believe that they sacrificed the peace of 
their country. This view has been commonly adopted 
by historians ; it was set forth in every Lancastrian 
manifesto of the time ; it was repeated by the historians 
who wrote under the Tudors, and it still prevails. 

Another view, however, was taken by the majority 
of the English people in York's own day. Wherever in 
England public spirit ran strong, wherever wealth had ac- 
cumulated and civilisation had advanced, a sympathy for 
the Yorkist party manifested itself. Kent, London, and 
East Anglia were always strongly on the Duke's side. 
But if York had been an ambitious schemer, deliberately 
upsetting the peace of the realm for his own ends, we 
should not expect to find his supporters among those 
parts of the nation to whom peace and good governance 
were above all things profitable. 

42 WARWICK . chap. 

A glance through the pages of the chroniclers who 
were contemporary with the war, Harding, Gregory, 
William of Worcester, Whethamsted, the anonymous 
English chronicler in the Camden Series, shows that to 
the majority of the English people York passed not as a 
disturber of the peace, but as a wronged and injured 
man, goaded into resistance by the machinations of the 
Court party. In one aspect he was regarded as a great 
lord of the royal blood excluded from his rightful place 
at the Council board, and even kept out of the country 
by his enemies who had the King's ear. In another he 
was regarded as the leader and mouthpiece of the 
Opposition of the day, of the old and popular war-party 
which inherited the traditions of Henry the Fifth and 
Humphrey of Gloucester — a party, indeed, whose views (as 
we have said elsewhere) were unwise and even immoral, 
but one which might reasonably ask to be taken into 
consideration by those who managed the affairs of the 
realm. In these days of ours when Ministries prove 
incapable and grow discredited the Opposition has its 
turn at the helm in the natural course of things. In the 
fifteenth century the old methods which had served 
Simon de Montfort, and the Lords Ordainers of 1322, 
were still the only ones which could be used against 
ministers who were out of sympathy with the nation. 
York was doing at St. Albans much what Earl Simon 
had done at Lewes. 

This too must be said, that if disaster without and 
disorder within are to be held sufficient to discredit any 
rule, there had never been a time since the evil days 
of Bannockburn when England had more right to be dis- 
contented with her rulers. Moreover, there was no 


chance that things would grow better ; as long as the 
Queen and her friends ruled the King, so long would 
things continue as they were. Men thought at one 
moment that with the removal of Suffolk the evil times 
would come to an end. But when an outburst of 
popular fury swept Suffolk to his end — and be it remem- 
bered that there is no evidence to connect York with 
Suffolk's tragic death — the ascendency of Somerset proved 
as disastrous and as hopeless as that of his predecessor. 
And when Somerset fell at St. Albans men hoped once 
more that matters would right themselves ; but the less- 
known ministers who soon succeeded to the helm — Beau- 
mont and the Earl of Wiltshire — proved quite as unprofit- 
able servants to the nation. As long as the Queen was 
at the King's side to choose his councillors for him, so 
long would the discontent of England continue to in- 
crease. Margaret's misfortunes make us loath to speak 
evil of her, but in fairness to the Yorkists it must be 
remembered that she was the most detestable politician 
that England had known. It is usual to call the dislike 
of the nation for her a stupid prejudice against a 
foreigner ; but there was surely some reason for hating 
the woman who sold Berwick to the Scots and Calais to 
the French, who reintroduced the hateful practice of 
sweeping attainders in the Parliament of 1459, who suc- 
ceeded in turning loyalty into a party-cry by making the 
King a party -leader. Well might she confess to a 
foreign friend on one occasion " that if the great lords 
of her own party knew what she was doing, they would 
themselves be the first to rise and put her to death," for 
she it was who committed that foulest treason of all — 
which consists in sending secretly to tell a foreign enemy 

44 WARWICK chap. 

where to strike, in order that by his blow a party-end 
may be served. In 1457, when the realm was for a 
moment at peace, she deliberately incited the French 
admirals to make their great descent on the Kentish 
coast which ended in the fearful sack of Sandwich, 
merely because she knew that such a disaster would be 
counted against her political enemies the Yorkists. There 
is nothing to be compared to it in English history except 
the conduct of the arch-traitor Marlborough in 1694 over 
the affair of Brest. 

The English hatred of Queen Margaret was no pre- 
judice, but a wholesome instinct which led the English 
nation to recognise its enemy. She made herself a 
party-leader, and as a party-leader she had to be treated. 
York's ten years' strife with her must be regarded not 
so much as the rebellion of a subject against his 
sovereign, but as the struggle of one party-leader against 
another with the primitive weapons which alone were 
possible in the constitutional crises of that day. But 
even if we grant that York had his excuses, and that 
his general attitude does not stand self-condemned at 
the first glance, it remains to be seen how far his pro- 
gramme was justifiable, and how far he honestly en- 
deavoured to carry it out to the best of his abilities. 
That he was an able, self-confident, ambitious man, with 
the fixed idea that he was the victim of the intrigues of 
the Court party, and that but for those intrigues he would 
be able to assume the position in the King's Council to 
which his birth entitled him, we know well. That when 
the King remained childless for nine years after his 
marriage, York could not help dwelling on the near 
prospect of his accession to the throne, was matter of 


notoriety. When that prospect was suddenly taken 
from him by the unexpected birth of an heir to the 
crown, York's spirits were deeply dashed, and his friends 
murmured in secret about changelings and bastards. 
But his own attitude and language were still everything 
that could be required b}^ the most exacting critic ; he 
shared in the rejoicings at the birth of Prince Edward, 
and joined the Commission which was appointed to 
confer on the infant the title of Prince of Wales. All 
his speeches and manifestoes for the next six years were 
full even to satiety of professions of loyalty to the King, 
and no claims on his own part were ever made for any- 
thing more than that right of access to the King's ear 
to which he was obviously entitled. The Yorkist declara- 
tions are always statements of grievance and demands 
for reform, set forth on public grounds ; they show no 
traces of dynastic claims. The actions of the party, too, 
are quite in keeping with their declarations. That they 
would take the King into their own hands, and not 
leave him in those of the Somersets or Wiltshire or 
Beaumont, they had always stated, and they attempted 
no more when they had the chance. The best criterion 
of York's honesty is his conduct after the first battle of 
St. Albans, when the fortune of war had placed the 
King's person in his power. He then proceeded to 
give Henry new ministers, but did absolutely nothing 
more. No w r ord about the succession was breathed, nor 
was it even attempted to punish those who had pre- 
viously ruled the kingdom so ill. With a wise modera- 
tion all the blame was heaped on Somerset — and Somerset 
was dead, and could suffer no harm whatever might be 
laid to his charge. 

46 WARWICK chap, v 

It may then fairly be argued that Warwick and all 
those who followed Kichard of York in peace and war 
down to the year 1460 had an honest programme, and 
could in all sincerity trust their leader, when he assured 
them that his ends were national and not personal, — the 
reform of the governance of England, not the establish- 
ment of the house of York on the throne. We shall see 
that when, after enduring and inflicting many evils, York 
did at last lay claim to the throne, his own party, headed 
by Warwick, firmly withstood him and compelled him, in 
adherence to his and their original pledges, to leave King 
Henry his throne and content himself with the prospect 
of an ultimate succession. 

This being so, it is only just to Warwick and the 
other Yorkist leaders to give them the benefit of the 
doubt wherever their conduct admits of an honourable 
explanation, and not to judge their earlier assertions or 
claims or complaints in the light of later events. On 
these lines we shall proceed to describe the young Earl's 
actions down to the final outbreak of war in 14-59. 



From the moment when York returned from Ireland 
without the King's permission, and commenced to expos- 
tulate with his royal kinsman against the doings of 
Somerset and the rest of the Court party, the progress 
of events was sure and steady. Nothing save some ex- 
traordinary chance could have warded off the inevitable 
Civil War. That it did not break out sooner was only 
due to the fact that York was as cautious as he was 
determined, and was content to wait for the crown which 
the King's sickly constitution and long-barren wedlock 
promised him. Moreover, the Court party themselves 
had no desire to push matters to extremities against the 
man who was in all probability to become their king at 
no very distant date. For more than four years the 
struggle between York and Somerset proceeded before 
swords were actually drawn ; they fought by manifestoes 
and proclamations, by Acts of Parliament, by armed 
demonstrations, but neither would actually strike the 
first blow. 

The final crisis was brought about by the juxtaposition 
of two events of very different character. In August 
1453 the King fell into a melancholy madness, exactly 

48 WARWICK chap. 

similar to that which had afflicted his unfortunate grand- 
father Charles the Sixth of France. He sat for days with- 
out moving or speaking ; whatever was said to him he 
cast down his eyes and answered nought. The King's 
insanity was a deadly blow to Somerset, for he was 
helpless without the royal name to back him. York, on 
the other hand, with the general consent of the nation, 
assumed the direction of affairs, and became the King's 
lieutenant. He was afterwards made Protector of the 
Realm. This promised a final termination to the civil 
troubles of the realm. 

But a few months after the King had become deranged, 
the whole face of affairs was changed by the birth of an 
heir to the crown. The Queen was delivered of a 
son on October 13th. This unexpected event — -for 
the royal pair had been childless for nine years — was of 
fatal import to York. It took away the safety that had 
proceeded from the fact that his enemies believed that 
he was one day to reign over them, and it made York 
himself desperate. He came to the conclusion that he 
must be either regent or nothing ; to save his head he 
must resort to desperate measures, and no more shrink 
from arms. 

It is at this moment that Warwick begins to come to 
the front. In the earlier phases of York's struggle with 
Somerset he and his father had avoided committing 
themselves unreservedly to their kinsman's party ; when 
he made his armed demonstration in 1452 they had not 
appeared at his side, but had negotiated in his favour 
with the King. In the Parliament of January 1454 
they took part more decidedly in his favour. Mischief 
was brewing and every peer came up to London with 


hundreds of retainers in his train. It was then noticed 
that Warwick "with a goodly fellowship at his back" 
rode up in company with his uncle of York, and that 
Salisbury with sevenscore men-at-arms joined him in 

York's preponderance in the councils of the realm 
was at once followed by the promotion of his Neville 
kinsmen. In December Warwick, now aged twenty- 
five, was made a member of the Privy Council. In 
April, after York had been made Protector, Salisbury 
was made Chancellor of the Realm; it was forty-four years 
since a layman had held the post. 

The King was insane for sixteen months, and for that 
time York governed the realm with discretion and success. 
His conduct with regard to the question of the succession 
was scrupulously correct. The infant Prince Edward 
was acknowledged heir to the throne, and York, Warwick, 
and Salisbury were all members of the Commission which 
in April invested him with the title of Prince of Wales. 
The Court party were treated with leniency ; only 
Somerset, against whom the popular outcry was as loud 
as ever (he had nearly been torn to pieces by a London 
mob in 1453), was committed to custody in the Tower, 
where he lay all the time of the King's madness. The 
country seemed satisfied and the prospect was fair. 

To the Nevilles these two last years of promotion 
and success had only been clouded by a fierce quarrel 
with the house of Percy. In 1453 Salisbury had been 
celebrating the marriage of his fourth son, Thomas, to a 
niece of Lord Cromwell at Tattershall in Yorkshire. As 
he left the feast his retainers fell into an affray with 
some followers of Thomas Percy Lord Egremont, a 


50 WARWICK chap. 

younger son of the Earl of Northumberland. Out of 
this small spark sprung a sudden outbreak of private 
war all over the counties of York and Northumberland, 
in which the Nevilles were headed by John, Salisbury's 
second son, and the Percies by Egremont. The trouble 
lasted more than a year, and was only ended by York 
going in person, after he had been made Protector, to 
pacify the combatants. In this he succeeded, but the 
Percies maintained that they had been wronged, and were 
ever afterwards strong supporters of Somerset and the 

In December 1454 King Henry came to his senses, 
and York resigned the protectorate. The King's re- 
covery was in every way unfortunate ; the moment that 
he was himself again he fell back into the hands of the 
Court party. His first act was to release Somerset from 
the Tower, and declare him a true and faithful subject. 
His next was to dismiss York and Salisbury from all 
their offices, and with them several other high function- 
aries who were enemies of Somerset, including Tiptoft 
Earl of Worcester, the Lord Treasurer. The disgraced 
peers retired to their estates — York to Sendal, Salisbury 
to Middleham. 

But worse was to come. In May a Council, to which 
were summoned neither York, Salisbury, Warwick, nor 
any other of the old councillors who were their friends, 
met at Westminster. This body summoned a Parlia- 
ment to meet at Leicester, "for the purpose of providing 
for the safety of the King's person against his enemies." 
Who would be declared the enemies York and Salisbury 
could guess without difficulty ; and what would be done 
with these enemies they knew well enough. Imprison- 



ment would be the least evil to be feared at the hands 
of Somerset. 

The fatal moment had come. York was desperate, 
and resolved to anticipate the vengeance of his adver- 
saries. The moment that the news came, he called out 
his Yorkshire retainers, and sent to ask the aid of his 
friends all over England. Salisbury joined him at once 
with the Neville tenants from his North-Riding estates, 
and without a moment's delay York and his brother-in- 
law marched on London. Warwick fell in with them 
on the way, but no other friend came to their aid, 
though the Duke of Norfolk was getting together a 
considerable force on their behalf in East Anglia. 

York's little army marched down the Ermine Street ; 
on May 20th he lay at Royston in Cambridgeshire. 
Beside the two Nevilles he had only one other peer in 
his company, Lord Clinton, and the knights present 
were merely the personal followers of York and Salis- 
bury. Except a few of Warwick's Midland tenants, the 
whole army was composed of the Yorkshire retainers of 
York and Salisbury, and the chroniclers speak of the 
whole army as the Northern Men. More troops could 
have been had by waiting, but the Duke knew that if 
he delayed, the enemy would also gain time to muster in 
strength. At present the lords of the King's Council 
were quite unprepared for war, and the rapid march of 
York's little army had not allowed them time for pre- 

On the 21st the Duke felt his way southward 
along the line of the Ermine Street, and lay at Ware. 
There he and the two Earls indited a laborious apology 
for their arrival in arms to " their most redoubted 

52 WARWICK chap. 

sovereign Lord the King." They were "coming in grace, 
as true and humble liegemen, to declare and show at 
large their loyalty," and sought instant admission to 
the royal presence that they might convince him of the 
" sinister, malicious, and fraudulent reports of their 

Somerset read clearly enough the meaning of York's 
march on London, and even before the Duke's manifesto 
was received, had stirred up the King to have recourse 
to arms. Many of the great lords of the King's party 
were in London, but they were surprised by the sudden 
approach of the enemy, and had brought few followers 
with them. Thus it came to pass that although the 
King marched out of Westminster on the 21st with 
many of the greatest lords of England at his back, 
he had less than three thousand combatants in his host. 
With him went forth his half-brother Jasper of 
Pembroke, the Dukes of Somerset and Buckingham, 
the Earls of Northumberland, Devon, Stafford, Wiltshire, 
and Dorset, and Lords Clifford, Dudley, Berners, and 
Roos, nearly a quarter of the scanty peerage of England. 
York's manifesto reached the King as he marched 
through Kilburn, but Somerset sent it back without 
allowing it to reach the royal hands. That night the 
army turned off the Roman road to shelter themselves 
in the houses of Watford ; but next morning very 
early all were afoot again, and long before seven o'clock 
King Henry and his host reached St. Albans. The 
royal banner was pitched in St. Peter's Street, at the 
northern end of the straggling little town, the outlets of 
the streets were barricaded, and then the troops dispersed 
to water their horses and prepare breakfast. An hour 


later York and his forces appeared, advancing cautiously 
from the east along the Hertford Road. Hearing of 
the King's march on Watford, the Duke had left the 
direct line of advance on London, and set out to seek 
his enemies. When St. Albans was found to be strongly 
held, York, Salisbury, and Warwick drew up their four 
thousand men in battle array, in a field called Keyfield 
to the east of the town, and paused before attacking. 
They were hardly arrived before the Duke of Bucking- 
ham was seen emerging with a herald from the barricade 
which closed the eastern outlet of the town. This 
elderly nobleman was Salisbury's brother-in-law and 
Warwick's uncle ; he was sure of a fair hearing from 
the insurgents, for he had never been identified with 
the party of Suffolk and Somerset, and was in arms out 
of pure loyalty to the King. Arrived in the presence 
of the rebel leaders, Humphrey of Buckingham de- 
manded the cause of their coming and the nature of 
their intentions. The Duke of York replied by charging 
his master's envoy with a message for the royal ears, 
which began with all manner of earnest protestations 
of loyalty, proceeded with a vague declaration that the 
intent of his coming in arms was righteous and true, 
and ended with a peremptory demand that it would 
please the King "to deliver up such persons as he 
might accuse, to be dealt with like as they have de- 
served." Buckingham brought the message back and re- 
peated it to the King, as he sat in the house of Westley, 
the Hundredman of the town of St. Albans, whither 
he had retired after his arrival. When the Duke's 
demand was made known, for once in his life the saintly 
King burst out into a fit of passion. " Now I shall 

54 WARWICK chap. 

know," he cried, "what traitors are so bold as to raise a 
host against me in my own land. And by the faith 
that I owe to St. Edward and the Crown of England, I 
will destroj^ them every mother's son, to have example 
to all traitors who make such rising of people against 
their King and Governour. And for a conclusion, say 
that rather than they shall have any lord here with me 
at this time, I will this day for his sake and in this 
quarrel stand myself to live or die." 

When this answer came to the Duke of York he 
made no immediate attack on the town, but turned to 
harangue his troops. He told them that the King refused 
all reformation or reparation, that the fate of England 
lay in their hands, and that at the worst an honourable 
death in the field was better than the shame of a traitor's 
end, which awaited them if they lost the day. Then he 
launched the whole body in three divisions against 
the barricades which obstructed the northern, southern, 
and eastern exits of the town. 

The hour was half-past eleven o'clock, for the inter- 
change of messages between the King and York had 
consumed four hours of the morning. The royal troops, 
seeing Buckingham coming and going between the two 
armies, had believed that an agreement would be patched 
up without fighting. Many had left their posts, and 
some had disarmed themselves. When the Duke's men 
were seen in motion every man ran to arms, and the 
bells of the abbey and the churches ringing the alarm 
set monks and townsmen to prayers, in good hope that the 
shield of their warrior-patron would be stretched over them 
to ward off the plundering bands from the North, the 
Gens Boreoe, gens perfidise, gens prona raj)iiice, 


whose advent always sent Abbot Whethamsted into an 
ecstasy of bad Latin verses. 

The first rush of the Yorkists was beaten off at all 
the three points which they attacked. Lord Clifford on 
the London Road " kept the barriers so strongly that the 
Duke might not in any wise, for all the power he had, 
break into the streets." Warwick too, who led the left 
division of the Yorkist host, was repulsed in his attack 
on the southern exit of the town. But the Earl's quick 
military eye, now for the first time exercised, had 
marked that the Lancastrians, though strong enough to 
hold the barricades, had not enough men to defend the 
long straggling line of houses which formed the southern 
extension of the town. Gathering together his repulsed 
retainers, he broke into the gardens which lay behind the 
houses of Holywell Street, and bursting open the back- 
doors of several dwellings, ran out into the main thorough- 
fare of the town, " between the sign of the Chequers and 
the sign of the Key, blowing up his trumpets and shout- 
ing with a great voice, A Warwick ! A Warwick ! " — a 
cry destined to strike terror into Lancastrian ears on 
many a future battlefield. Warwick's sudden irruption 
took the defenders of the barricades in the rear, but 
they faced about and stood to it manfully in the streets. 
The Lancastrian line was broken, and the Yorkist centre, 
where Sir Robert Ogle led on the Duke's own followers 
from the Northern Marches, now burst into the market- 
place in the centre of the town to aid Warwick. 

For one wild half-hour the arrows flew like sleet up 
and down St. Peter's Street, and the knights fought 
hand to hand in the narrow roadway. But the Lan- 
castrians were overmatched. The King received an arrow 

56 WARWICK chap. 

in the neck, and was led bleeding into the house of a 
tanner. Somerset, the cause of the battle, was stricken 
dead on the doorstep of an inn named the Castle. Sir 
Philip Wentworth, the King's standard-bearer, threw 
down his banner and fled away. James of Ormond the 
Irish Earl of Wiltshire, and Thorpe the Speaker of the 
House of Commons, followed him. But the other 
leaders of the King's army were less fortunate. The 
Earl of Northumberland and Lord Clifford were slain. 
The Earl of Dorset was desperately wounded, and left 
for dead in the street. The Duke of Buckingham, with 
an arrow sticking in his face, took sanctuary in the 
abbey. The Earls of Stafford and Devon, both wounded, 
and Lord Dudley, yielded themselves prisoners. Only 
sixscore men had been slain in the King's army, but 
the larger part were persons of mark, for, as was often 
the case in that century, the lightly -equipped archers 
and billmen could fling down their arms and get away 
with ease, while the knights and nobles, fighting on foot 
in their cumbrous armour, could not make speed to fly 
when the day was lost. So it came to pass that of the 
one hundred and twenty Lancastrians who fell, only 
forty-eight were common men, the rest were nobles, 
knights, and squires, or officers of the King's household. 
On the next day the victors marched on London, vainly 
hoping, perhaps, that with the death of Somerset and 
the capture of the King the days of the weak, govern- 
ment of Lancaster were over. 

The Duke and his followers thought, as yet, of nothing 
more than a change of ministry. Their conduct shows 
that they had nothing more in hand than the replacing 
of the Court party in the great offices of State b}^ persons 


who should be more in touch with their own views and 
the will of the nation. The Chancellorship was left in 
the hands of Archbishop Bourchier, whom the Yorkists 
felt that they could trust; but the Earl of Wiltshire 
was replaced as Treasurer by Lord Bourchier, the Arch- 
bishop's brother. The Duke of York became Constable ; 
Warwick superseded the dead Somerset as Captain of 
Calais ; Salisbury was made Steward of the Duchy of 
Lancaster. A little later Warwick's younger brother 
George Neville was given the wealthy bishopric of 
Exeter, though he had only just reached his twenty- 
sixth year. A Parliament summoned in July ratified 
these appointments, and chose as its Speaker Sir John 
Wenlock, of whom we shall frequently hear again as one 
of Warwick's firmest friends and adherents. A strongly- 
worded oath of allegiance to King Henry was taken by 
the Duke of York, and all the House of Lords with him, 
and the new ministry started on its career with favour- 
able prospects. The only trouble for the moment came 
from an ill-judged attempt in Parliament to fix the 
responsibility for the " 111 Day of St. Albans " on definite 
persons. Warwick named Lord Cromwell as one of 
those most to blame, and when Cromwell gave an angry 
reply, there sprang up such an altercation between them 
that men feared a breach of the peace. That night 
Cromwell borrowed the Earl of Shrewsbury's men-at- 
arms to guard his house ; but Warwick had cooled down 
and no more came of the quarrel, for the Parliament 
very wisely concluded to lay all the responsibility for the 
Civil War on Somerset, who was dead and could not 

York's authority in the kingdom was made more 

58 WARWICK chap. 

secure for the moment when King Henry fell once again 
into one of his fits of melancholy madness in October. 
The Parliament reassembled and appointed the Duke 
Regent, but on February 25th Henry came to his 
senses, and at once relieved York of his office. There 
followed a time of unrest and rumours of war, but for 
some months longer the Duke succeeded in maintaining: 
his place at the helm. But trouble was always impend- 
ing. Warwick, whose trained and paid soldiery in the 
garrison of Calais were the only permanent military force 
belonging to the Crown, had to come over on several occa- 
sions to back his uncle. At one time we hear that York 
feared to be waylaid on his way to Parliament, and got 
Warwick with three hundred men "all in jacks or 
brigandines " to escort him thither, " saying that if he 
had not come so strong he would have been distressed, 
but no man knew by whom, for men think verily that 
there is no man able to undertake any such enterprise." 
York was not wrong, however, in thinking that there 
were those who were ready to risk much to get him out 
of power. Since Somerset was dead, the leadership of 
the Court party had fallen into very firm and determined 
hands, those of Margaret of Anjou, and the Queen had 
resolved to exercise the unbounded influence that she 
enjoyed over her husband to make him evict his 
Yorkist ministers the moment that it seemed safe so to 
do. For her resolve she had this much excuse, that the 
new government was at first no more fortunate than the 
old in enforcing order in the kingdom, for into the 
period of York's ascendency fell the worst private war 
that had been seen for a generation. Courtney Earl of 
Devon and Lord Bonville fell to blows in the West, and 


fought a battle outside Exeter with four thousand men 
a side ; the Earl won, and signalised his victory by ran- 
sacking the cathedral and carrying off several of the 
canons as prisoners. Yet he was not brought to justice 
for this abominable sacrilege, even though he was of the 
party which was opposed to York. But Margaret was 
not entitled to blame York for the state of the kingdom, 
for we find that she deliberately went to work to give 
the Duke trouble, by stirring up foreign enemies against 
England. A Scotch raid in the summer of 1456 was 
more than suspected to be due to her intrigues ; and it 
is certain that while the Duke was officially taking the 
Scots to task in the King's name, the King was disavow- 
ing York's warlike despatches in private letters to James 
the Second. When we know that a year later Margaret 
was not above setting on the French to ravage the 
Kentish sea-ports for her own private purposes, we can 
understand a little of the hatred with which she was 
followed by the Commons of the south-eastern counties. 



It was in the four years which lay between the fight of 
St. Albans and the second outbreak of the Civil War 
in 1459 that Warwick made his reputation and won 
his popularity. Up to 1455 he had been known merely 
as a capable young nobleman who followed in all things 
the lead of his father Salisbury. He had not as }^et 
been given any independent command, nor trusted 
alone in any business of importance, though he was 
already far be}^ond the age at which many personages 
of the fifteenth century began to take a prominent part 
in politics. He was now twenty-seven years old, eleven 
years older than Henry the Fifth when he took over the 
government of Wales, nine years older than Edward the 
Fourth when he won the fight of Mortimer's Cross. 
There were no signs in Warwick of that premature de- 
velopment which made so many of his contemporaries 
grown men at sixteen, and worn-out veterans at forty. 

Unlike most of his house, Warwick had not been 
blessed with a large family. Anne Beauchamp had borne 
him two daughters only, both of them delicate girls who 
did not live to see their thirtieth year. No male off- 
spring was ever granted him, and it seemed evident 


that the lands of Warwick and Despenser were des- 
tined to pass once more into the female line. But 
the day was far distant when this was to be, and 
Richard Neville's sturdy frame and constitution, — his 
altitudo animi cum paribus corporis viribus, to quote Poli- 
dore Vergil, — promised many a long year of vigorous 

Warwick had already become a prominent figure in 
English politics, not so much from the breadth of his 
lands or from the promise of military prowess that he 
had shown at St. Albans, as from the almost universal 
popularity which he enjoyed. He was far from being 
the haughty noble, the Last of the Barons, whom later 
writers have drawn for us. His contemporaries sj^eak 
of him rather as the idol of the Commons and the 
people's friend: "his words were gentle, and he was 
affable and familiar with all men, and never spoke of 
his own advancement, but always of the augmentation 
and good governance of the realm." There never was 
any peer who was a better lord to his own retainers, 
nor was there any who bore himself more kindly 
towards the Commons • hence he won a personal popu- 
larity to which his father Salisbury never attained, 
and which even his uncle of York could not rival. 

As a school for a man of action there could have 
been no better post than the governorship of Calais. 
The place had been beset by the French ever since the 
loss of Normandy in 1450, and was never out of danger 
of a sudden attack. Three times in the last six years 
considerable armies had marched against it, and had 
only been turned away by unexpected events in other 
quarters. Bickering with the French garrisons of 

62 WARWICK chap. 

Boulogne and other neighbouring places never ended, 
even in times of nominal truce. To cope with the 
enemy the Captain of Calais had a garrison always 
insufficient in numbers, and generally in a state of 
suppressed mutiny ; for one of the chief symptoms of 
the evil rule of Suffolk and Somerset had been the 
impotence of the central government to find money for 
the regular war-expenses of the realm. The garrison of 
Calais was perpetually in arrears of pay, and successive 
governors are found complaining again and again that 
they were obliged to empty their own pockets to keep 
the soldiers to their post. Even the town -walls had 
been allowed to fall into disrepair for want of money to 
mend them. 

Besides his military duties the Captain of Calais had 
other difficult functions. He lay on the frontier of 
Flanders, and a great part of the trade between England 
and the dominions of the house of Burgundy passed 
through his town, for Calais was the " staple " for that 
branch of commerce. Hence he had to keep on good 
terms with the neighbouring Burgundian governors, 
and also — -what was far more difficult — to endeavour to 
sweep the Straits of Dover clear of pirates and of French 
privateers, whenever there was not an English fleet at 
sea. This was no sinecure, for of late English fleets had 
been rarely seen, and when they did appear had gone 
home without effecting anything useful. The man who 
could with a light heart undertake to assume the post 
of Captain of Calais must have been both able and 

Warwick held the place from August 1455 to August 
1460, and combined with it the post of " Captain to guard 


the Sea" from October 1457 to September 1459. His 
tenure of office was in every way successful. The garrison 
was brought up to its full strength, and put in good 
discipline — largely, we may suspect, at the expense of 
the Earl's own pocket, for after October 1456, when the 
Duke of York ceased to be Protector, Warwick got little 
money or encouragement from England. He raised 
the strength of his troops to about two thousand men, 
and was then able to assume the offensive against the 
neighbouring French garrisons. His greatest success 
was when, in the spring of the third year of his office, he 
led a body of eight hundred combatants on a daring raid 
as far as Staples, forty miles down the coast of Picardy, 
and took the town together with a fleet of wine-ships 
from the south of France, which he put up to ransom, 
and so raised a sum large enough to pay his men for 
some months. Falling into a disagreement also with 
the Burgundian governors in Flanders, he made such 
havoc in the direction of Gravelines and St. Omer that 
Duke Philip was obliged to strengthen his garrisons 
there, and finally was glad to consent to a pacification. 
The negotiations were held in Calais and came to a 
successful conclusion, for a commercial treaty was con- 
cluded with Flanders as well as a mere suspension 
of arms. 

While Warwick lay at Calais he could not pay very 
frequent visits to England, for French alarms were 
always abounding. In June 1456, for example, "men 
said that the siege should come to Calais, for much 
people had crossed the water of Somme, and great 
navies were on the sea." Again, in May 1457, another 
threatened attack caused the Earl to lay in great stores, 

WARWICK chap. 

for which he had to draw on Kent: "so he had 
folks of Canterbury and Sandwich before him, and 
thanked them for their good hearts in victualling I Lais, 
and prayed them for continuance therein." That those 
rumours of coming trouble were not all vain was Bhown 
,i few months later, for a Norman fleet under Peter de 
Breeze* threw four thousand men ashore near Sandwich 
in August, and the French stormed the town from the 
land side, held it for a day, and sacked it from garret to 
cellar. It was this disaster which England owed to 
.Margaret of Anjou, for she had deliberately suggested 
the time and place of attack to de lhvze, in older to 
bring discredit on the government of the Duke of York. 
It is curious to note how the work of the day of St. 
Albans was undone, without any violent shock, dining 
the earlier years of Warwick's rule at Calais. The 
Queen played her game more cautiously than usual. 
First, York's protectorate was ended, on the excuse that 
the King, whose mind had failed him again after St. 
Albans, was now himself once more. Then, eight 
months later, a great Council was summoned, not at 
London, where York was too popular, but at Coventry, 
The meeting was packed with the men-at-arms of the 
Queen's adherents, and at it King Henry dismissed the 

two Bourchier brothers, York's firm supporters, from 
their offices of Chancellor and Treasurer, and replaced 
them by the Earl of Shrewsbury, .* Btrong adherent 
the Conn party, and byWainfleet Bishop of Winchester. 

It was widely believed that York, who had come to the 
Council with no knowledge of t he Queen's intended 

cPitaif would have mel with an ill end if bis kinsman the 
Duke of Buckingham bad nol succeeded in aiding him 


I tf all the offices bestowed as the result of 
St. AJbana fight, Warwick's post at Calais was the only 
one which Mas not now forfeited. Probably the Queen 
and her friends preferred to keep him over-sea as much 
as possible. 

It is 2 id testimony to the loyalty of the Duke and 
his friends that they made no stir on their eviction from 
office. \<>ik retired to Wigmore, and for the next year 
!c quietly upon his estates Salisbury went to 
Middleham and remained in the North. Meanwhile the 
country Bhowed its discontent with the renewed rule of 
the Queen. Tumultuous gatherings took place in Oxford- 
shire and Berkshire, and again on the Welsh Border, 
although no Leading Yorkist was implicated in them. 
The temper of London was so discontented that the 
en would not allow the King to approach it for a 
whole year. 

The ascendency of the Earls of Wiltshire, Beaumont, 
Shrewsbury, Exeter, and the other lords who ruled in 
the King's name and by the Queen's guidance, proved as 
unfortunate and as unpopular as any of the other periods 
during which Margaret's friends were at the helm. Men 
felt that civil war was destined to break out once mo 

Voik Bhould 1"- pressed too hard and find his 
patience at an end. Bence general joy was felt when in 
January 1 158 the King, taking the initiative for once, 
announced that, he was aDOUl to reconcile all the pri\ 

of his I ad invited fork, Salisbury, and 

Warwick, with the reel of their party, to attend a greal 
• They came, hut fearing some 

snare of the Queen's, came irith a num< Mowing 

k with a hundred and forty horse, Salisbury with 


66 WARWICK chap. 

four hundred, Warwick with six hundred men of the 
Calais garrison all apparelled in red jackets emblazoned 
with the Beauchamp badge of the ragged staff. There 
was no snare in the King's invitation, and all precautions 
were taken to prevent affrays. The Yorkist lords and 
their retainers were lodged within the city, while the 
Queen's friends, who appeared in great force — the Earl 
of Northumberland alone brought three thousand 
men — were provided for in the suburbs. The Mayor 
of London — Godfrey Bulleyn, Anne Bulleyn's ancestor 
— with five thousand citizens arrayed in arms kept the 
streets, to guard against brawling between the retainers 
of the two parties. 

The King at once set forth his purpose of a general 
pacification, and found York and his friends very ready 
to fall in with his views. More trouble was required to 
induce the sons of those who had fallen at St. Albans — 
the young Somerset, Clifford, and Northumberland — to 
pardon those on whose swords was their fathers' blood. 
But the King's untiring efforts produced the desired 
result. York, Salisbury, and Warwick promised to 
endow the Abbey of St. Albans with a sum of £45 a 
year, to be spent in masses for the souls of the slain, and 
to make large money payments to their heirs — York 
gave the young Duke of Somerset and his mother five 
thousand marks, and Warwick made over one thousand 
to the young Clifford. . After this curious bargain had 
been made, and a proclamation issued to the effect that 
both the victors and the vanquished of St. Albans had 
acted as true liegemen of the King, a solemn ceremony 
of reconciliation was held. The King walked in state 
to St. Paul's, behind him came the Queen, led by the 


Duke of York; then followed Salisbury hand in hand with 
Somerset, Warwick hand in hand with the Duke of 
Exeter, and after them their respective adherents two 
and two. The sight must have gladdened the King's 
kindly heart, but no one save his own guileless self could 
have supposed that such a reconciliation was final ; 
almost the whole of his train were destined to die by 
each other's hands. The Queen and Somerset were one 
day to behead York and Salisbury ; Warwick was 
destined to slay Exeter's son ; and so all down the long 

As one of the tokens of reconciliation, Warwick was 
created " Chief Captain to guard the Sea," a post wherein 
centred the ambition of his unwilling partner in the 
great procession, the Duke of Exeter. The office was not 
one with many attractions. The royal navy comprised 
no more than the Grace Dieu and two or three more 
large carracks. When a fleet was required, it was made 
up by requisitioning hastily -armed merchant- vessels 
from the maritime towns. Of late years, whenever such 
an array was mustered, the sailors had gone unpaid, and 
the command had been entrusted to some unskilled 
leader from the ranks of the Court party. England had 
entirely ceased to count as a naval power ; her coasts 
were frequently ravaged by French expeditions, such as 
that which had burnt Sandwich in 1457, and pirates 
and privateers of all nations swarmed in the Channel. 

In his capacity as Captain of Calais, Warwick had 
been compelled to learn something of the Channel, but 
we should never have guessed that he had accumulated 
enough of the seaman's craft to make him a competent 
admiral. Nevertheless, his doings during the twenty 

68 WARWICK chap. 

months of his command at sea entitle him to a respectable 
place by the side of Blake and Monk and our other 
inland -bred naval heroes. He not merely acquired 
enough skill to take the charge of a fleet in one of the 
rough and ready sea-fights of the day, but actually 
became a competent seaman. At a pinch, as he showed 
a few years later, he could himself take the tiller and 
pilot his ship for a considerable voyage. 

The tale of Warwick's first naval venture has been 
most fortunately preserved to us by the letter of an 
actor in it. 

On Trinit} r Sunday (May 28th) in the morning [writes 
John Jernyngan] came tidings unto my Lord of Warwick 
that there were twenty-eight sail of Spaniards on the sea, 
whereof sixteen were great ships of forecastle ; and then my 
Lord went and manned five ships of forecastle and three 
carvells and four pinnaces, and on the Monday we met to- 
gether before Calais at four of the clock in the morning, and 
fought together till ten. And there we took six of their 
ships, and they slew of our men about fourscore and hurt 
two hundred of us right sore. And we slew of them about 
twelvescore, and hurt a five hundred of them. It happed 
that at the first boarding of them we took a ship of three 
hundred tons, and I was left therein and twenty-three men 
with me. And they fought so sore that our men were fain 
to leave them. Then came they and boarded the ship that 
I was in, and there was I taken, and was prisoner with them 
six hours, and was delivered again in return for their men 
that were taken at the first. As men say, there has not 
been so great a battle upon the sea these forty winters. And, 
to say sooth, we were well and truly beaten : so my Lord 
has sent for more ships, and is like to fight them again in 

Such a hard-fought struggle against superior numbers 
was almost as honourable to Warwick's courage and 


enterprise as a victory, and the indomitable pluck which 
he displayed seems to have won the hearts of the sailors, 
who were ever after, down to the day of his death, 
faithful to his cause. But his later undertakings were 
fortunate as well as bold. 

The best known of them took place in the spring of 
1458. Sweeping the Channel with fourteen small vessels, 
Warwick came on five great ships — " three great Genoese 
carracks, and two Spaniards far larger and higher than 
the others." For two days Warwick fought a running 
fight w T ith the enemy, " hard and long, for he had no 
vessel that could compare in size with theirs." Finally 
he took three of the carracks and put the other two to 
flight. Nearly a thousand Spaniards were slain, and 
the prisoners were so many that the prisons of Calais 
could hardly contain them. The prizes were richly 
laden, and their contents were valued at no less than 
£10,000. The markets of Calais and Kent were for 
the moment so charged with Southern goods that a 
shilling bought that year more than two would have 
bought the year before. 

This fight naturally made Warwick popular with 
merchants and sailors, but it was less liked at West- 
minster ; for although at odds with the King of Castile, 
England was not at this moment engaged in hostilities 
with the Genoese, though there was a dispute in progress 
about the ill-treatment of some British merchants by 
them. Another feat of Warwick's, however, was to get 
him into worse trouble. Early in the autumn of the 
same year he had an engagement in the Straits of Dover 
with a great fleet of Hanseatic vessels from Lubeck, who 
were sailing southward to France. From them he took 

70 WARWICK chap. 

five ships which he brought into Calais. Now England 
had signed a commercial treaty with the Hansa only two 
years before, and this engagement was a flagrant viola- 
tion of it. It led Warwick's enemies on the Continent 
to call him no better than a pirate. What was his plea 
of justification w r e do not know. It may be, as some 
have alleged, that he mistook the Germans at first for 
Spaniards or Frenchmen. It may be that he fell out 
with them on some question as to the rights of the 
English admiral in the narrow seas, such as gave constant 
trouble in later centuries, and were the forerunners of 
the famous quarrels over the "right of search" and "the 
right of salute." 

But about Warwick's capture of the Hanseatic vessels 
there was no doubt. A month later a board was 
appointed, consisting of Lord Rivers, Sir Thomas Kyrriel, 
and seven other members, to investigate the matter. 

On November 8th Warwick came over from Calais 
to lay his defence before the King and Council. Henry 
received him courteously enough, and there w T as much 
sage talk about the marches of Picardy, " but the Earl 
could judge well enough by the countenances of many 
who sat in the Council Chamber that they bore him 
hatred, so that he bethought him of the warnings that 
his father had lately written him about the Queen's 

Next day when Warwick again came into the royal 
presence, the Council had hardly begun when a great 
tumult arose in the court, " the noise was heard over 
the whole palace, and every one was calling for Warwick." 
What had happened was, that the retainers of Somerset 
and Wiltshire had fallen on the Earl's attendants and 


were making an end of them. Warwick ran down to 
see what was the matter, but the moment that he 
appeared in the court he was set on by a score of armed 
men, and it was only by the merest chance that he was 
able to cut his way down to the water-stairs, and leap 
with two of his men into a boat. He escaped with his 
life to the Surrey side, but his followers were not so 
lucky ; three were slain and many wounded. 

Warwick declared that the whole business had been 
a deliberate plot to murder him, and he was probably 
right; but the lords of the Queen's party maintained 
that the affray had been a chance medley between the 
two bands of retainers, and that the first blow had been 
struck by one of Warwick's men. But whatever was 
the truth about the matter, Warwick could not be 
blamed if he swore never to come to Court again without 
armed men at his heels. The sequel of the quarrel 
shows what had really been intended. Next day the 
Queen and her friends represented to the King that 
the quarrel had been due to brawling on Warwick's 
part, and procured an order for committing him to the 
Tower. Warned of this by a secret friend in the 
Council, the Earl rode off in haste to Warwick Castle, 
and sent to his father and the Duke of York. The 
three held a conference, in which they resolved that at 
the next hostile move of their enemies they would repeat 
the line of conduct which had been so successful four 
years before — they would muster their retainers and 
deliver the King by force out of the hands of the Court 

Meanwhile Warwick retired to Calais, where he called 
together the officers of the garrison, and the Mayor and 

72 WARWICK chap. 

aldermen, set forth to them the attempt upon his life, 
and begged them to be true to him and guard him 
against the machination of his enemies. 

The next attack of the Queen 0x2 the followers of 
York was long in coming ; nine months elapsed between 
the affray at Westminster and the final outbreak of 
Civil War. 

Meanwhile [says the chronicler] the realm of England 
was out of all good governance, as it had been many days 
before ; for the King was simple, and led by covetous 
counsel, and owed more than he was worth. His debts 
encreased daily, but payment was there none ; for all the 
manors and lordships that pertained to the Crown the King 
had given away, so that he had almost nought to live on. 
And such impositions as were put on the people, as taxes, 
tallages, and ' fifteenths,' all were spent in vain, for the 
King held no household and maintained no wars. So for 
these misgovernances the hearts of the people were turned from 
them that had the land in governance, and their blessing 
was turned to cursing. The Queen and her affinity ruled 
the realm as they liked, gathering riches innumerable. The 
officers of the realm, and specially the Earl of Wiltshire, the 
Treasurer, for to enrich themselves pilled the poor people, 
and disherited rightful heirs, and did many wrongs. The 
Queen was sore defamed, and many said that he that was 
called the Prince was not the King's son, but gotten in 

The name of Wiltshire, "the best-favoured knight 
in the land, and the most feared of losing his beauty," 
was united with that of Margaret by many tongues, 
and the Queen's behaviour was certainly curious ; 
for instead of staying with her husband, she was 
continually absent from his side, busied in all manner of 
political intrigues, and only visiting King Henry when 
some grant or signature had to be wrung out of him. 


All the summer of 1459 she was in Lancashire and 
Cheshire " allying to her the knights and squires in 
those parts for to have their benevolence, and held open 
household among them, and made her son give a livery 
blazoned with a swan to all the gentlemen of the 
country, trusting through their strength to make her 
son King ; for she was making privy means to some 
lords of England for to stir the King to resign the crown 
to his son ; but she could not bring her purpose about." 

The exact details of the outbreak of the war are 
hard to arrange chronologically. Writs were being 
sent about by the Queen in the King's name ordering 
every one to be ready to assemble " with as many men 
as they might, defensibly arrayed," as early as May. 
But no such muster seems to have taken place, and it 
was not till September that a blow was struck. In the 
middle of that month an army was raised in the Mid- 
lands with which the King took the field. A summons 
was then sent to Salisbury, who lay at Sherif Hoton in his 
northern lands, bidding him come to London. Remem- 
bering what had happened to his son on his last visit 
to the King, Salisbury went not, but took the summons, 
combined with the mustering of the King's forces, as 
an alarm of war. Collecting some three thousand of 
his Yorkshire tenants, he marched off to seek his brother- 
in-law York, who was lying at Ludlow. At the same 
time he sent messengers to his son at Calais, bidding 
him cross over at once to join him. 

Warwick, seeing that the crisis was come, took two 
hundred men-at-arms and four hundred archers of the 
garrison of Calais, under Sir Andrew Trollope a veteran 
of the French War, and crossed to Sandwich. He left 

74 WARWICK chap. 

Calais, where lay his wife and his two daughters, in 
charge of his uncle, William Neville Lord Fauconbridge, 
" a little man in stature but a knight of great reverence." 
Warwick marched quietly through London, and crossed 
the Midlands as far as Coleshill in Warwickshire with- 
out meeting an enemy. There he just avoided a battle, 
for Somerset, with a great force from his Wessex lands, 
was marching through the town from south-west to 
north-east the same day that Warwick traversed it 
from south-east to north-west ; but as it happened they 
neither of them caught any sight or heard any rumour 
of the other. 

While Warwick was taking his way through the 
Midlands, decisive events had been occurring. When 
the Queen, who lay at Eccleshall in Staffordshire, heard 
that Salisbury was on his way to York's castle of 
Ludlow, she called out all her new-made friends of the 
north-west Midlands, and bade them intercept the Earl. 
Lord Audley their leader was given a commission to 
arrest Salisbury and send him to the Tower of London. 
All the knighthood of Cheshire and Shropshire came 
together and joined Audley, who was soon at the head 
of nearly ten thousand men. With this force he threw 
himself across Salisbury's path at Blore Heath near 
Market Drayton on September 23rd. The old Earl refused 
to listen to Audley 's summons to surrender, entrenched 
himself on the edge of a wood and waited to be attacked. 
Audley first led two cavalry charges against the Yorkist 
line, and when these were beaten back by the arrows of 
the northern archers, launched a great column of billmen 
and dismounted knights against the enemy. After hard 
fighting it was repulsed, Audley himself was slain, and 


the Lancastrians drew back, " leaving dead on the 
field most of those notable knights and squires of 
Chesshire that had taken the badge of the Swan." 

In the night Salisbury drew off his men and marched 
round the defeated enemy, who still lay in front of his 
position. A curious story is told of his retreat by the 
chronicler Gregory. "Next day," he says, "the Earl of 
Salisbury, if he had stayed, would have been taken, so 
great were the forces that would have been brought up 
by the Queen, who lay at Eccleshall only six miles from 
the field." But the enemy knew nothing of Salisbury's 
departure, " because an Austin friar shot guns all 
night in the park at the rear of the field, so that they 
knew not the Earl was departed. Next morrow they 
found neither man nor child in that park save the 
friar, and he said that it was for fear that he abode in 
that park, firing the guns to keep up his heart." 

Salisbury was now able to join York at Ludlow 
without further molestation, and Warwick came in a 
few days later without having seen an enemy. The Duke 
and the younger Earl called out their vassals of the Welsh 
March, and their united forces soon amounted to twenty 
thousand men. They made no hostile movement 
however, though the Lancastrian force defeated at 
Blore Heath was now being joined by new reinforcements 
and lay opposite them in great strength. But the 
Duke and the two Earls went forward to Worcester, 
and there in the cathedral took a solemn oath that 
they meant nothing against the King's estate or the 
common weal of the realm. They charged the Prior 
of Worcester and Dr. William Lynwood to lay before 
the King a declaration "that they would forbear and 

76 WARWICK chap. 

avoid all things that might serve to the effusion of 
Christian blood," and would not strike a blow except 
in self-defence, being only in arms to save their own 

The refusal of the Yorkist lords to assume the 
offensive, if creditable to their honesty, was fatal to 
their cause. For the next three weeks the levies of 
Northern and Central England came pouring into the 
Queen's camp, and the King himself, waking up for 
once, assumed the command in person. A curious record 
in the preamble of an Act of Parliament of this year 
tells us how he buckled on his armour, " and spared 
not for any impediment or difficulty of way, nor in- 
temperance of weather, but jeopardied his royal person, 
and continued his labour for thirty days, and sometimes 
lodged in the bare field for two nights together, with 
all his host, in the cold season of the year, not resting 
in the same place more than one night save only on 
the Sundays." About October 12th, the King, whose 
army now amounted to as many as fifty thousand men, 
pushed slowly forward on to Ludlow, putting out as he 
went strongly-worded proclamations which stigmatised 
the Duke and the Earls as traitors, and summoned 
their followers to disperse, promising free pardon to all 
save Salisbury and the others who had fought at Blore 

York and Warwick had, of course, no intention of 
abandoning their kinsman ; they paid no heed to the 
royal proclamation, but they soon found that their 
followers were far from holding it so lightly. The 
Yorkists were so manifestly inferior in numbers to the 
enemy, less than half their force indeed, that the men's 


hearts were failing them. Their position on the Welsh 
Border, with the King's army cutting them off from 
England, and with the Welsh in arms behind them, was 
unsatisfactory, and none of the Yorkist barons had 
succeeded in joining them except Lord Clinton and Lord 
Grey of Powis. The inaction of their leaders had 
allowed them time to think over their position, and it 
would appear that the news of the King's proclamation 
had reached them, and the announcement of pardon 
worked its effect. York seems to have recognised that 
the use of the royal name against him was the fatal 
thing, and proceeded to spread a rumour through his 
camp that King Henry was really dead. He even 
ordered his chaplains to celebrate the mass for the dead 
in the midst of the camp. But the stratagem recoiled 
on his head next day, when the truth became known, 
and the King was seen, with his banner displayed at 
his side, leading forward in person the van of the Lan- 
castrian army. At nightfall on October 13th the armies 
were only separated by the Teme, then in flood and 
covering the fields for some way on each side of its 
course. The Duke set some cannon to play upon the 
King's line, but the darkness or the distance kept them 
from doing any hurt. This was all the fighting that 
was destined to take place. 

That night demoralisation set in among the Yorkist 
ranks. It commenced with the veteran Trollope, who 
secretly led off his six hundred Calais troops from 
their place in the Yorkist line and joined the enemy. 
Lord Powis followed his example, and at dawn the 
whole army was melting away. York bade the bridges 
be broken down, and began to draw off, but nothing 

78 WARWICK chap, vii 

could keep his men together ; they were dispersing with 
such rapidity that he could no longer hope to fight. 
Accordingly he bade those who still followed him to 
save themselves, and made off with his two sons Edward 
and Edmund, Warwick and Salisbury, and a few devoted 
retainers, to seek some place of refuge. 

Thus by the Rout of Ludford all the work of Blore 
Heath and St. Albans was entirely undone. 



The adventures of Warwick after the army of York 
broke up have luckily been preserved to us in some 
detail. He and his father, together with the Duke and 
his two sons Edward and Edmund, fled southwards 
together with a few score of horse, hotly pursued by Sir 
Andrew Trollope and his men. So close was the chase 
that John and Thomas Neville, who lingered behind 
their brother and father — both having been wounded 
at Blore Heath — were taken prisoners. Presently the 
party was forced to break up by the imminence of their 
peril. The Duke of York and his second son Edmund 
turned off into Wales, with the design of taking ship for 
Ireland. Salisbury, Warwick, and Edward Plantaganet, 
the young Earl of March, York's eldest son and Salis- 
bury's god-child and nephew, accompanied by Sir John 
Dynham and only two persons more, fled across Here- 
fordshire by cross-roads, avoiding the towns, and then 
by a hazardous journey through Gloucestershire and 
Somersetshire reached the coast of Devon, apparently 
somewhere near Barnstaple. There the fugitives turned 
into a fishing village, where Sir John Dynham bought 
for two hundred and twenty-two nobles — the sum of the 

80 WARWICK chap. 

party's resources — a one-masted fishing-smack. He gave 
out that he was bound for Bristol, and hired a master 
and four hands to navigate the little vessel. 

When they had got well out from land Warwick asked 
the master if he knew the seas of Cornwall and the 
English Channel. The man answered that he was quite 
ignorant of them, and had never rounded the Land's 
End. " Then all that company was much cast down : 
but the Earl seeing that his father and the rest were 
sad, said to them that by the favour of God and St. 
George he would himself steer them to a safe port. And 
he stripped to his doublet, and took the helm himself, 
and had the sail hoisted, and turned the ship's bows west- 
ward," much to the disgust, we doubt not, of the master and 
his four hands, who had not counted on such a voyage 
when they hired themselves to sail to Bristol town. 

It was not for nothing that Warwick had ranged the 
Channel for two years. He now proved that he was a 
competent seaman, by navigating the little vessel down 
the Bristol Channel, round the Land's End, and across 
to Guernsey. Here they were eight days wind-bound, 
but putting forth on the ninth ran safely up the Channel 
and came ashore at Calais on November 3rd, just twenty 
days after the rout of Ludford. Counting the crew, 
they had been eleven souls in the vessel. 

Warwick found Calais still safe in the hands of his 
uncle Fauconbridge, whom he had left in charge of the 
town and of his own wife and daughters when he went 
to England two months before. Overjoyed at the news, 
Fauconbridge came to meet him on the quaj^, and fell 
on his neck. " Then all those lords went together in 
pilgrimage to Notre Dame de St. Pierre, and gave thanks 


for their safety. And when they came into Calais, the 
Mayor and the aldermen and the merchants of the Staple 
came out to meet them, and made them good cheer. 
And that night they were merry enough, when they 
thought they might have found Calais already in the 
hands of their enemies." 

Such indeed might well have been their fortune, for 
the Duke of Somerset was already at Sandwich, with 
some hundreds of men-at-arms. The King had appointed 
him Captain of Calais, and he was on his way to remove 
Fauconbridge and get the town into his own keeping. 
But the south-west wind which blew Warwick up from 
Guernsey had kept Somerset on shore. 

That very evening the wind shifted, and late at night 
Somerset's herald appeared before the water-gate to 
warn the garrison that his master would arrive to take 
command next day. " Then the guard answered the 
herald that they would give his news to the Earl of 
Warwick, who was their sole and only captain, and that 
he should have Warwick's answer in a few minutes. 
The herald was much abashed, and got him away, and 
went back that same nio;ht to his master." 

No one in England knew what had become of War- 
wick or Salisbury, and Somerset's surprise was as great 
as his wrath when he found that they had anticipated 
him at Calais. Next morning he set sail with his forces, 
of which the greater part were comprised of Sir Andrew 
Trollope's soldiers, making for Guisnes, with the inten- 
tion of attacking Calais from the land side. But a 
tempest rose up while he was at sea, and though he and 
most of his men came ashore at Guisnes, the vessels that 
contained their horses and stores and armour were 


82 WARWICK chap. 

driven into Calais harbour for safety, and compelled 
to surrender to Warwick. The Earl "thanked Pro- 
vidence for the present, and not the Duke of Somerset," 
and was much pleased at the chance, for his men were 
greatly in want of arms. He had the prisoners forth, 
and went down their ranks ; then he picked out those 
that had been officers under him and had sworn the 
oath to him as Captain of Calais and threw them into 
prison, but the rest he sent away in safety, saying that 
they had but served their King to the best of their 
knowledge ; only Lord Audley, Somerset's second in 
command, son to the peer whom Salisbury had slain at 
Blore Heath, was not permitted to depart, and was con- 
signed to the castle. But the men who had broken 
their oath to Warwick were brought out into the market- 
place next day, and beheaded before a great concourse 
of the citizens. 

Somerset and Sir Andrew Trollope had been received 
into Guisnes, and made it their headquarters. But for 
some time they could do nothing against Calais, because 
they were in want of arms and horses. It was not till 
they had got themselves refitted by help of the French 
of Boulogne that they were able to harm Warwick. 
Meanwhile they were practically cut off from England, 
for Warwick's ships held the straits, and neither news 
nor men came across to them. Presently Somerset set to 
work to intercept Warwick's supply of provisions, which 
was drawn mainly from Flanders, and the Earl had to 
arrange that every market-day parties of the garrison 
should ride out to escort the Flemings and their waggons. 
It might have gone hard with Calais if this source of 
supply had been cut off, but Warwick had concluded a 


secret agreement with Duke Philip, by which the intro- 
duction of food into the town was to be winked at by 
the Flemish officials, notwithstanding any treaties with 
England that might exist. Neither Somerset nor War- 
wick got much profit out of the continual skirmishes 
that resulted from the attempts of the Lancastrians to 
cut off the waggon-trains from Dunkirk and Gravelines. 

So passed the months of November and December 
1459, with no stirring incidents but plenty of bickering. 
But Christmastide brought with it abundant excitement : 
the Queen had at last taken measures to reinforce 
Somerset, and Lord Kivers with his son Sir Antony 
Woodville had come down to Sandwich with a few 
hundred men to take the first safe opportunity of 
crossing to Guisnes. But the time was stormy and the 
troops mutinous 3 they got little or no pay, and scattered 
themselves over the neighbourhood to live at free 
quarters, so that Rivers lay in Sandwich almost un- 

" So at Christmastide the Earl called together his 
men-at-arms, and asked whether it was not possible to 
get back his great ship that he had used when he was 
admiral, for it lay at Sandwich in Lord Rivers' hands 
with several ships more. And Sir John Dynham 
answered 'yea,' and swore to take it back with God's 
aid if the Earl would give him four hundred men to sail 
with him. So the Earl bade his men arm, and fitted out 
his vessels, and he gave the charge of the business to 
Sir John Dynham, and Sir John Wenlock that wise 
knight, who had done many feats of arms in his day." 
They set out at night, and arrived off Sandwich before 
dawn. Waiting for the tide to rise, they ran into the 

84 WARWICK chap. 

harbour at five in the morning. No one paid any atten- 
tion to them, for the men of Sandwich thought they 
were but timber-ships from the Baltic, as all the men-at- 
arms were kept below hatches. 

There was no stir in the town, and Wenlock was 
able to seize the ships and fit them out in haste, while 
Dynham swept the streets and caught Lord Rivers' men- 
at-arms as they turned out to see what was the matter. 
Sir Antony Woodville was captured one hour later, as 
he rode into the town from London, whither he had 
gone to ask the Queen for a supply of money. Lord 
Rivers himself was found, still asleep, in his bed at the 
Black Friars, and carried on board his own ship before 
he could realise what was happening. 

The men of Sandwich, like the rest of the Kentish- 
men, had no desire to harm the Yorkists, so that there 
was no fighting, and Dynham and Wenlock sailed home 
at their ease, without striking a single blow, with their 
prisoners and all the war-ships in the port save the 
Grace D'wu alone, which was found quite unready for 
the sea. 

That evening they were again in Calais, and landed 
in triumph to deliver their spoils to Warwick. A 
quaint and undignified scene followed when the prisoners 
were brought out. " So that evening Lord Rivers and 
his son were taken before the three Earls, accompanied 
by a hundred and sixty torches. And first the Earl of 
Salisbury rated Lord Rivers, calling him a knave's son, 
that he should have been so rude as to call him and 
these other lords traitors, for they should be found 
the King's true lieges when he should be found a traitor 
indeed. And then my Lord of Warwick rated him, 


and said that his father was but a squire, and that he 
had made himself by his marriage, and was but a made 
lord, so that it was not his part to hold such language 
of lords of the King's blood. And then my Lord of 
March rated him in like wise. Lastly Sir Antony was 
rated for his language of all three lords in the same 

If Rivers had any sense of humour, he must have felt 
the absurdity of being rated by the Nevilles — who more 
than any other race in England had risen by a series of 
wealthy alliances — for having " made himself by his 
marriage." But probably anger and fear were suffi- 
cient to keep him from any such reflections. We 
could wish that Warwick had been less undignified in 
the hour of his triumph ; but if his words were rough 
his actions were not : Rivers and his son were sent to 
join Lord Audley in the castle, but they were well 
treated in their captivity and came to no harm. Before 
many months were out they joined their captor's cause. 

It would have been hard for the actors in the scene 
to foresee the changes that ten years were to make in 
their relations to each other. By 1470 Rivers was 
destined to find himself the father-in-law of the young 
Earl of March, who was now exercising his tongue 
against him in imitation of the Nevilles, and to lose 
his life in the service of the house of York. Warwick, 
on the other hand, was to become the deadly enemy of 
the young Prince whom he was now harbouring and 
training to arms, and to adopt the Lancastrian cause 
which Rivers had deserted. 

The months of January and February passed in 
continual skirmishing with Somerset and the garrison 

86 WARWICK chap. 

of Guisnes, which led to no marked result; but about 
the beginning of Lent news arrived at Calais that the 
Duke of York, of whom nothing definite had been heard 
since October, was now in great force in Ireland, where 
he had got possession of Dublin, "and was greatly 
strengthened by the earls and homagers of that country." 
Warwick at once resolved to sail to Ireland to concert 
measures with his uncle, and to learn if it would be 
possible to invade England ; for it was obvious that 
unless some vigorous offensive action were taken in the 
spring, the Lancastrians would finally succeed in bringing 
enough men across to form the siege of Calais, and then 
the town could not hold out for ever. 

Accordingly, though the storms of March were at 
their highest, Warwick equipped his ten largest ships, 
manned them with one thousand five hundred sailors 
and men-at-arms, "the best stuff in Calais," and sailed 
down the Channel for Ireland. The voyage was un- 
disturbed by the enemy, but terribly tempestuous and 
protracted. However, the Earl reached Waterford at last, 
and found there not only York and his son Rutland, 
but his own mother, the Countess of Salisbury, who had 
fled over to Ireland when she heard that her name was 
inserted among the list of persons attainted by the 
Lancastrian Parliament which met at Leicester in 
December 1459. 

Warwick found the Duke in good spirits, and so 
hopeful that he was ready to engage to land in Wales 
in June with all the force that could be raised in 
Ireland, if Warwick would promise to head a descent on 
Kent at the same moment. This plan was agreed upon, 
and the Earl set sail to return about May 1st, taking 


with him his mother, who was anxious to rejoin her 
husband whom she had not seen for nearly a year. 

Meanwhile the news of Warwick's departure for 
Ireland had reached the Lancastrian government, and 
the Duke of Exeter, Warwick's successor in the office of 
admiral, had sworn to prevent him from returning to 
Calais. Accordingly Exeter "with the great ship called 
the Grace Dieu, and three great carracks, and ten other 
ships all well armed and ordered," was now besetting 
the Channel. When Warwick was off Start Point the 
vessel which sailed in advance of his squadron to 
reconnoitre the way returned in haste, with the news 
that a squadron was lying off Dartmouth and that some 
fishing-boats, with whom communication had been held, 
reported the Duke of Exeter to be in command. 

Warwick was resolved to fight, though the enemy 
was considerably superior in force. He sent for his 
captains on board his carvel " and prayed that they 
would serve him loyally that day, for he had good hope 
that God would give him the victory," to which they 
answered that they were well disposed enough for a 
fight and that the men were in good heart. Accord- 
ingly the Earl's ten ships formed line and bore down on 
the Duke's fourteen. A fight appeared imminent, when 
suddenly the whole Lancastrian fleet went about, and 
fled in disorder into Dartmouth harbour, which lay 
just behind them. This unexpected action was caused 
by mutiny on board. When the Duke had given orders 
to prepare for action, his officers had come to him in 
dismay, to announce that the men would not arm to 
fight their old commander, and that if he came any 
nearer to the Earl, the crews would undoubtedly rise 

WARWICK chap. 

and deliver them over to the enemy. Accordingly 
Exeter gave orders to retire into harbour. 

Warwick, however, could not know of the cause of 
the enemy's retreat, and having a good west wind behind 
him and a great desire to get back to Calais, from 
which he had now been absent more than ten weeks, 
pursued his journey without attempting anything against 
Dartmouth. He reached Calais in safety on June 1st, 
and was proud to restore his mother, " who had suffered 
grievously from the sea during her voyage," to his 
father's arms. Salisbury and Fauconbridge had been 
much alarmed at the length of his absence, and the 
more faint-hearted of the garrison had begun to murmur 
that he had deserted them for good, and had fled to 
foreign parts to save his own person. 

Now, however, all was stir and bustle in Calais, for 
Salisbury and Fauconbridge thoroughly approved of the 
plan of invasion which had been concerted at Dublin. 
The news from England indeed was all that could be 
desired. The reckless attainting of all the Yorkists by 
the Parliament of Leicester had met with grave dis- 
approval. The retainers of the Lancastrian lords had 

been committing all sorts of misdoings, chief among 
which was the unprovoked sack of the town of Newbury 
by the followers of Ormond Earl of Wiltshire. London 
was murmuring savagely at the execution of seven 
citizens who, in company with a gentleman of the 
house of Neville, had been caught in the Thames on 
their way to Calais to join the Earls. The " unlearned 
preachers " whom the Government put up to preach 
against York at Paul's Cross were hooted down by the 
mob. The Commons of Kent were signifying in no 


doubtful terms their willingness to join the Earls, the 
moment that the banner of the White Rose should be 
unfurled in England. A fragment of a ballad hung by 
an unknown hand on the gate of Canterbury in June is 
worth quoting as an expression of their feelings. 

Send home, most gracious Jesu most benigne, 
Send home the true blood to his proper vein, 
Kichard Duke of York thy servant insigne, 
Whom Satan not ceaseth to set at disdain, 
But by thee preserved he may not be slain. 
Set him ' ut sedeat in principibus ' as he did before, 
And so to our new song Lord thyne ear incline, 
Gloria, laus et honor tibi sit Christe redemptor ! 

Edward the Earl of March, whose fame the earth 

shall spread, 
Richard Earl of Salisbury, named Prudence, 
With, that noble knight and flower of manhood 
Richard Earl of Warwick, shield of our defence, 
Also little Faulconbridge, a knight of grete reverence, 
Jesu ! restore them to the honour they had before ! 

Nor was it only the Commons that were ready to join 
in a new appeal to arms. The partisans of York among 
the great houses, who had not definitely committed 
themselves at the time of the rout of Ludford, and so 
had escaped arrest and attainder, let it be known at 
Calais that they were ready for action. Chief among 
them were the Duke of Norfolk and the two brothers 
Lord Bourchier and Bourchier Archbishop of Canterbury, 
who pledged themselves to put their retainers in motion 
the moment that Warwick should cross the sea. 

It was in no spirit of recklessness then that Warwick 
resolved to cross into Kent in the last week of June, 
with every man that could be spared from Calais. As 

90 WARWICK chap. 

a preliminary to his advance, he had resolved to clear 
away the only Lancastrian force that was watching him — 
a body of five hundred men-at-arms which had been sent 
down to Sandwich, to replace Lord Rivers' troops and 
to endeavour to communicate with Somerset at Guisnes. 
This body was commanded by Osbert Mundeford, one of 
the officers of the Calais garrison who had deserted 
Warwick in company with Sir Andrew Trollope. 

Accordingly, on June 25th Sir John Dynham, the 
captor of Rivers, sailed over to Sandwich for the second 
time, and fell on Mundeford's force. There was a hot 
skirmish, for on this occasion the Lancastrians were not 
caught sleeping j but again the Yorkists won the day. 
Dynham indeed was wounded by a shot from a bombard, 
but his men stormed the town, routed the enemy, and 
took Mundeford prisoner. He was sent over to Calais, 
where he was tried for deserting his captain, as the 
prisoners of November 3rd had been, and beheaded next 
day outside the walls. 

On the 27th Warwick himself, his father, the Earl 
of March, Lord Fauconbridge, Wenlock, and the rest of 
the leaders at Calais, crossed over to Sandwich with 
two thousand men in good array, leaving in the town 
the smallest garrison that could safely be trusted with 
the duty of keeping out Somerset. They had published 
before their landing a manifesto, which set out the 
stereotyped Yorkist grievances once more — the weak 
government, the crushing taxes, the exclusion of the 
King's relatives from his Council, the diversion of the 
revenue into the pockets of the courtiers, the misdoings 
of individual Lancastrian chiefs, the oppression of the 
King's lieges, and all the other customary complaints. 


The three Earls had only been in Sandwich a few 
hours when, as had been agreed, the Archbishop of 
Canterbury came to join them with many of the tenants 
of the see arrayed in arms. They then moved forward, 
with numbers increasing at every step, for the Kentish- 
men came to meet them by thousands, and no one raised 
a hand against them. 

The Lancastrians had been caught wholly unprepared. 
They seem to have been expecting raids from Warwick 
on the eastern coast, not on the southern, and except 
Mundeford's routed force there was no one in arms 
south of the Thames. The King and Queen were at 
Coventry, and most of the Lancastrian lords scattered 
each in their own lands. Lord Scales and Lord Hunger- 
ford were in command of London, where there were 
present a few other notables — Lord Vesey, Lord Lovell, 
and John de Foix titular Earl of Kendal. These leaders 
endeavoured to fortify the city, posting guns on London 
Bridge and placing their retainers in the Tower. But 
the aspect of the citizens was threatening, and Warwick 
was known to be coming on fast. The landing had 
taken place on the 27th, and on July 1st the three Earls 
and the Archbishop of Canterbury were already before 
the walls of London. They had marched over seventy 
miles in four days, taking the route of Canterbury, 
Rochester, and Dartford, and were at hand long before 
they were expected. 

When the Archbishop's herald summoned the town 
there was some attempt made by the Lancastrian lords 
to offer resistance, but the mob rose and drove them 
into the Tower, while a deputation of aldermen went 
forth to offer a free entry to the Yorkist army. 

92 WARWICK chap, vm 

On July 2nd the three Earls entered London in state, 
conducted by the Archbishop and a Papal Legate, a certain 
Bishop of Teramo who had been sent by Pius the Second 
to endeavour to reconcile the English factions and to get 
them to join in a crusade. He had allowed himself to 
be talked over by Warwick, and did all in his power to 
further the cause of York. 

The Earls rode to St. Paul's and there before a great 
multitude, both clerical and lay, Warwick "recited the 
cause of their coming in to the land, how they had been 
put out from the King's presence with great violence, 
so that they might not come to his Highness to excuse 
themselves of the accusations laid against them. But 
now they were come again, by God's mercy, accompanied 
by their people, for to come into his presence, there to 
declare their innocence, or else to die upon the field. 
And there he made an oath upon the Cross of Canter- 
bury, that they bore true faith and liegeance to the King's 
person, whereof he took Christ and His Holy Mother 
and all the Saints of Heaven to witness." We shall see 
that this last promise was not an entirely unmeaning 
formula in Warwick's mouth, and that his oath was not 
like the deliberate perjuries to which others of his con- 
temporaries — notably Edward the Fourth — were prone. 



AVifen the arrival of the three Earls in London was 
known, all the Yorkist peers who were within touch of 
London came flocking in with their retainers. Thither 
came Warwick's uncle Edward Neville Lord Aberga- 
venny, and his brother George Neville Bishop of Exeter, 
and his cousin Lord Scrope, and Clinton one of the 
victors of St. Albans, and Bourchier and Cobham and Say, 
and the Bishops of Ely, Salisbury, and Kochester. It is 
strange to read that Audley, who had been Warwick's 
prisoner in Calais ever since last November, also joined 
the Yorkists in arms. He had come to terms with his 
captor, and had agreed to forget the death of his father 
at Blore Heath and to serve the cause of York. In a 
few days an army of more than thirty thousand men 
had been gathered together. 

The first task of the Yorkists was to provide for the 
blockade of the Tower of London, where Hungerford and 
Scales abode in great wrath, " shooting wild-fire into the 
town every hour, and laying great ordnance against it." 
Salisbury agreed to remain in charge of the city and to 
undertake the siege. With him were left Lord Cobham, 

94 WARWICK' chap. 

Sir John Wenlock, and the greater part of the levy of 
London, commanded by the Lord Mayor and by one 
Harrow, a mercer. They brought batteries to bear on 
the Tower from the side of St. Katherine's wharf, " so 
they skirmished together daily, and much harm was 

Meanwhile Warwick and the young Earl of March set 
out on Saturday July 5th, having with them the other 
Yorkist lords, "and much people out of Kent, Sussex, 
and Essex with much great ordnance." Marching by 
the great north road, past St. Albans and Towcester, they 
made for Northampton, where they heard that the King 
was collecting his host. 

The invasion of England had been so sudden and its 
success so rapid that the Lancastrians had not had time 
to call in all their strength, more especially as it lay to 
a great extent in the extreme North and West. But the 
Midlands were well roused, and, if a Yorkist chronicler 
is to be believed, the Queen "had it proclaimed in 
Cheshire and Lancashire that if so the King had the 
victory of the Earls, then every man should take what 
he might, and make havoc in Kent, Essex, Middlesex, 
Surrey, and Sussex." The Duke of Buckingham had the 
chief command, though he was not of the Court party 
nor a great lover of the Queen's, but out of sheer loyalty 
he now — as formerly at St. Albans — came out with all 
his retainers when he received the King's missive. With 
him were Egremont and Beaumont, both deadly enemies 
of the Nevilles and favourites of the Queen, the Earl of 
Shrewsbury, Lord Grey de Ruthyn, and many more. 
Their forces, though very considerable, were still some- 
what inferior to those of the Yorkists. 


The King's camp was pitched just outside North- 
ampton town, in the meadows south of the Nen, near 
the Nunnery between Sandiford and Hardingstone. 
The position had been strongly entrenched, and the 
earthworks were lined with a numerous artillery ; the 
river covered both flanks, the lines being drawn from 
point to point in a broad bend of its course. 

Warwick, in accordance with his declaration at St. 
Paul's on the previous Thursday, made three separate 
attempts to secure permission to approach the King's 
person ; but Buckingham sternly refused to listen to his 
envoys, the Bishops of Rochester and Salisbury. "You 
came here not as bishops to treat of peace, but as men- 
at-arms," he said, ])ointing to the squadrons arrayed 
under the bishops' banners in the Yorkist host. Nego- 
tiations were fruitless, and at two in the afternoon 
Warwick drew out his army on the rising ground by the 
old Danish camp, the Hunsborough, which overlooks 
the water-meadows, and descended to the attack. 
Fauconbridge led the vanguard on the left, the Earl 
himself the centre, Edward of March, now seeing his 
first stricken field, conducted the right wing. Before 
the attack it was proclaimed that every man should 
spare the Commons, and slay none but the knights and 
lords, with whom alone lay the blame for the shedding 
of all the blood that might fall that day. 

The first assault on the Lancastrian lines failed com- 
pletely. The obstacles were far greater than Warwick 
had imagined ; it was six feet from the bottom of the 
ditch to the top of the rampart, and the trenches were 
full of water, for it had rained heavily in the morning. 
How the day would have gone if treachery had not come 

96 WARWICK chap. 

to the succour of the Yorkists it is impossible to say ; 
but only a few minutes after the first gun had been fired, 
Lord Grey de Kuthyn on the Lancastrian left mounted 
the badge of the Ragged Staff, and his men were seen 
beckoning to the Yorkists to approach, and leaning over 
the rampart to reach their hands to pull them up. 
Assisted in this way, the Earl of March's column got 
within the entrenchments, and sweeping along their 
front cleared a space for Warwick to burst in. All was 
over in half an hour and with very little bloodshed. 
Only three hundred men fell, but among them were 
nearly all the Lancastrian leaders. On foot and in their 
heavy armour the lords and knights could not get away. 
The aged Buckingham fell at the door of his own tent, 
and Beaumont, Egremont, and Shrewsbury close to the 
King's quarters, as they strove to protect his retreat. 
But the King, helpless as ever, was too late to fly, and 
fell into the hands of an archer named Henry Montford. 
His capture, however, was not so important so long as his 
wife and child remained at large ; and Margaret — as 
adroit as her husband was shiftless — was already speed- 
ing away with the young Prince, bound for North Wales. 
Warwick and March conducted King Henry back 
with all respect to London, where he was lodged in the 
palace at Westminster. They had done their work so 
rapidly that they had not needed the assistance of the 
Duke of York, whose arrival from Ireland — he was two 
months later than his promise — was just announced from 
the West. Even before he appeared the victors of 
Northampton had begun to reconstitute the King's 
ministry. Henry was made to sign patents appointing 
Salisbury Lieutenant in the six northern counties : his 


son, George Bishop of Exeter, received the Chancellorship; 
John Neville another son was made the King's Chamber- 
lain, and Lord Bourchier got the Treasury. Warwick 
himself was re-established de jure in the position he had 
been so long holding de facto, the captainship of Calais. 

The garrison of the Tower of London surrendered 
nine days after the battle of Northampton. Most of 
the defenders went away in safety, but Lord Scales, who 
was much hated by the populace of London, was not so 
fortunate. He took boat for the sanctuary of West- 
minster, but was recognised as he rowed along by some 
water-men, who gave chase to him and slew him on the 
river "just under the river wall of Winchester House." 
His body was stripped and thrown ashore into the 
cemetery of St. Mary Overy, whence it was removed 
and honourably buried by the Earls of March and 
Warwick that night. "Great pity was it that so noble 
a knight, so well approved in the wars of France and 
Normandy, should die so mischievously," adds the 

A Parliament was summoned by the Yorkists to meet 
on October 9th. Meanwhile Warwick was well employed. 
When August came round he ran across to Calais to see 
to his old antagonist at Guisnes. Somerset was now in 
low spirits, and willingly met the Earl at Newnham 
Bridge, there to be reconciled to him and make peace. 
But after he had embraced Warwick and assented to all 
his conditions, he secretly departed with his follower 
Trollope, fled through Picardy to Dieppe, and took refuge 
in his own south-western county. Meanwhile the Earl 
conducted his mother and wife in great state back to 
London, and re-established them in their old dwelling of 


98 WARWICK chap. 

" the Harbour." He spent September in going on a 
pilgrimage with the Countess to the shrine of the Virgin 
at Walsingham in Norfolk. On this journey he ran 
great peril, for Lord Willoughby, an unreconciled Lan- 
castrian, lay in wait for him near Lichfield on his return, 
and was within an ace of making him prisoner. 

So Warwick came at last to his own Midland estates. 
And there all the knights and ladies of his lands came 
to him "complaining of the evils that they had suffered 
in the past year from the Duke of Somerset, who had 
pilled and robbed them, and sacked their towns and 
manors, and usurped the Earl's castles ; but notwith- 
standing all their troubles they praised Heaven for the 
joyous return of their lord." 

York had reached Chester early in September, and 
had marched slowly through his estates in the Welsh 
March towards London. When he came to Abingdon 
" he sent for trompeteres and claryners from London, 
and gave them banners with the royal arms of England 
without distinction or diversity, and commanded his 
sword to be borne upright before him, and so he rode till 
he came to the gates of the palace of Westminster." 
This assumption of royal state was the beginning of evils. 

Meanwhile the Parliament was already sitting before 
the Duke's arrival. King Henry opened it with due 
solemnity, and heard it commence its work by repealing 
all the Acts of the Lancastrian Parliament of Leicester, 
and by removing the attainders of the Yorkist lords. 
On the third day of the session, Richard of York came 
up in the evening, and entered the palace, where he 
rudely took possession of the royal apartments. " He 
had the doors broken open, and King Henry hear- 


ing the great noise gave place, and took him another 
chamber that night." 

This unceremonious eviction of his sovereign was only 
the besfinnins; of the Duke's violent conduct. Next 
morning he went to the House of Lords, and approaching 
the throne laid his hand on the cushion as if about to 
take formal possession of the seat. Archbishop Bourchier 
asked him what he would do, and the Duke then made 
a lengthy reply " challenging and claiming the realm and 
crown of England as male heir of King Richard the 
Second, and proposing without any delay to be crowned 
on All Hallows' Day then following." The lords listened 
with obvious disapproval and dismay, and York did not 
even venture to seat himself on the throne. The meet- 
ing broke up without further transaction of business. 

"Now when the Earl of Warwick, who had not been 
present that day, heard this, he was very wroth, and sent 
for the Archbishop and prayed him to go to the Duke 
and tell him that he was acting evilly, and to remind 
him of the many promises he had made to King Henry." 
Warwick in short remembered his oath of July 4th, 
and was determined that Henry should not be despoiled 
of his throne, but only placed in the hands of Yorkist 
ministers. The Archbishop refused to face the Duke. 

Then the Earl sent for his brother Thomas Neville, and 
entered into his barge, and rowed to the palace. It was all 
full of the Duke's men-of-arms, but the Earl stayed not, and 
went straight to the Duke's chamber, and found him stand- 
ing there, leaning against a side-board. And there were 
hard words between them, for the Earl told him that neither 
the lords nor the people would suffer him to strip the King 
of his crown. And as they wrangled, the Earl of Rutland 
came in and said to his cousin, " Fair sir be not angry, for 

i oo WAR WICK < • n ap. 

you know that we have the true right to the crown, and 
that my Lord and Father here must have it," But the Earl 
of March his brother stayed him and said, " Brother, vex no 
man, for all shall he well." But the Earl of Warwick would 
stay no longer when he understood his uncle's intent, and 
went off hastily to his barge, greeting no one as he went save 
his cousin of March. 

Next day, when his wrath had cooled down, the 
Earl sent to his uncle the Bishops of Ely and Eochester, 
Lord Audley, and a London citizen named Grey, to beg 
and beseech him to give up his enterprise. The Duke 
sent them away, with the answer that he would be 
crowned the very next Monday, the day of the trans- 
lation of St. Edward the Confessor (October 13th). 
The preparations for the coronation were actually made, 
and the crowd was mustering in the Abbey, when on a 
last appeal made by Sir Thomas Neville in the name of 
his brother and of all the lords and commonalty of Eng- 
land, the Duke wavered. Fearing to offend his greatest 
supporters beyond redemption he temporised, put off 
his coronation, and began to negotiate. 

Richard Neville, in fact, had matched his will against 
that of his imperious uncle and had won, The Duke was 
never crowned. The arrangement at which the parties 
arrived was that Henry should be King for life, that 
York should be made Protector, named Prince of Wales, 
Duke of Cornwall, and Earl of Chester, and should be 
acknowledged as heir to the crown. The Duke, on the 
other hand, swore to be faithful to the King so long as 
he should live. On All Saints' Day the agreement was 
solemnly ratified at St. Paul's, whither the lords w r ent in 
procession, Warwick bearing the sword before the King, 
and Edward of March bearing the King's mantle. " And 

muc L/BRAR 


the crowd shouted 'Long live King Henry and the Earl 
of Warwick/ for the said Earl had the good voice of 
the people, because he knew how to give them fair 
words, showing himself easy and familiar with them, 
for he was very subtle at gaining his ends, and always 
spoke not of himself but of the augmentation and good 
governance of the kingdom, for which he would have 
spent his life : and thus he had the goodwill of England, 
so that in all the land he was the lord who was held in 
most esteem and faith and credence." 

The Act of Parliament which recorded the agreement 
of York and King Henry made no mention of Queen 
Margaret or of the Prince her son. But it was of little 
use passing Acts of Parliament while she was at large 
and the Lancastrian lords of the North and West 
unsubdued. Margaret's first move had been to stir up 
the Scots, and at her bidding James the Second crossed 
the Border and laid siege to Roxburgh, which was then 
an English town. Fauconbridge, Warwick's uncle, was 
sent north to defend the place, but later events deprived 
him of aid from England, and he was forced to sur- 
render, though not till after the King of Scots had 
fallen, slain by the bursting of one of his own siege 

But the Scotch invasion was only one of Margaret's 
schemes. Her main hope lay in a rising of the Lancas- 
trians who had not suffered at Northampton ; and from 
her retreat at Harlech in North Wales she sent to 
summon them together. Their mustering-place was in 
the North, where the Earl of Northumberland and Lord 
Neville, brother of Ralph Earl of Westmoreland, and 
Clifford son of the Clifford who fell at St. Albans, 


united their retainers as the nucleus of an army. To 
them fled Somerset, regardless of his oath at Calais, and 
Exeter the late Admiral, and Courtney Earl of Devon, and 
Willoughby and Roos and Hungerford, and many more. 

The danger was so imminent that the Duke of York, 
after wearing the honours of the protectorate for no more 
than three weeks, resolved to march north and disperse 
the gathering of the Queen's friends. He took with 
him his second son Edmund of Rutland, a boy of seven- 
teen ; Salisbury accompanied him, and he also left his 
first-born at home and went out with his fourth son 
Thomas Neville. The Duke and the Earl raised about 
six thousand men, and proceeded on their way, unop- 
posed save by a small Lancastrian force which they beat 
at Worksop, till they reached Sandal Castle, one of York's 
family strongholds, close beside the town of Wakefield. 
When they arrived there, about Christmas Eve, they 
learnt that the Queen's army was much stronger than 
they had reckoned, and sent south for reinforcements. 
But on December 30th they were themselves assailed 
by forces tripling their own small host, under Somerset 
and Clifford. The Duke rashly fought in the open, 
though many of his men were scattered over the country- 
side foraging. It is said that he relied on help treacher- 
ously promised him by some of the Lancastrian leaders ; 
but he was disappointed. No one played for his benefit 
the part that Grey de Ruthyn had carried out at 

The defeat of the Yorkists was decisive. Two 
thousand two hundred men out of their five thousand 
were slain. The fate of war fell heavily on the leaders, 
hardly one of whom escaped. The Duke fell on the 


field, with Thomas Neville and William Lord Harington. 
The Earl of Rutland, " the best-disposed young gentle- 
man in England," was slain in the pursuit as he fled 
across Wakefield Bridge. Salisbury's fate was more 
unhappy still ; he was taken prisoner, and beheaded 
next day at Pontefract by the Bastard of Exeter, 
" though he offered great sums of money that he should 
have grant of his life." The heads of Salisbury and 
his son, of Harington, and of five knights, were set on 
spikes over the gate of York, with that of Duke Richard 
in the midst, crowned with a paper crown in mockery 
of the prospective kingship that he had never enjoyed. 

All the Lancastrians of the North and the Midlands 
rose at once to join the Queen. She was soon at the 
head of forty thousand men, largely composed of the 
lawless moss-troopers of the Scotch Border, who looked 
upon war as a mere excuse for raids, and boasted that 
everything beyond the Trent was in an enemy's country. 
Before moving south they harried most thoroughly the 
estates of the northern Yorkists. Salisbury's patrimony 
about Middleham and Sherif Hoton bore the brunt of 
the plunder, at the hands of the retainers of the elder 
branch of Neville, whose head, Earl Ralph of West- 
moreland, put his men under the charge of his brother 
Thomas, one of the most rabid Lancastrians in the 
North Country. 

About the middle of January the Queen's army began 
to roll southward, pillaging recklessly on all sides, and 
sacking from roof to cellar the towns of Grantham, 
Stamford, Peterborough, Huntingdon, Royston, Mel- 
bourn, and Dunstable, as they passed down the Ermine 

104 WARWICK chap. 

The news of the battle of Wakefield reached London 
about January 5th, and set the whole South Country in 
dismay. Warwick, who had been keeping his Christmas 
on his own estates, was forced to ride up to the capital 
at full speed, and assume the direction of affairs, for 
there was now no one to share the responsibility with 
him. His uncle, in whose cause he had fought so long, 
and his father, whose prudent counsels had guided the 
party, were both gone ; his cousin of March, the head of 
the family, was no more than nineteen years of age, and 
was moreover at this moment far away by the Severn, 
looking after the Welsh March. It devolved on War- 
wick to assume the responsibility for the government of 
the kingdom and the safety of the Yorkist party. 

Though there were traitors enough ready to change to 
the winning side, as was always the case in this unhappy 
war, the south-eastern counties were firm to York even 
in the darkest hour. Warwick found ready assistants 
in the Duke of Norfolk, the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
the Earl of Arundel, the Lords Bonville, Cobham, 
Fitzwalter, and the Commons of Kent and London. 
"In this country," wrote a partisan of York, "every 
man is well willing to go with my Lords here, and I 
hope God shall help them, for the people of the North 
rob and steal, and are appointed to pillage all this 
country, and give away men's goods and livelihood in 
all the South Country, and that shall be a mischief." 

To resist the advance of the Queen on London, 
Warwick marched out to St. Albans and arrayed some 
thirty thousand men to cover the London road. His 
army was drawn up not in the great masses which were 
usual at this time, but in detachments scattered along a 


front of three miles ; the right on a heath called No 
Man's Land, the left in St. Albans town. The country- 
side was full of woods and hedges, which were manned 
by archers, supported by a body of Burgundian hand- 
gun-men whom Warwick had hired in Flanders. King 
Henry was taken along with the army, and stationed in 
the rear, in charge of Lord Bonville. The position was 
strong, but the communication between its various parts 
was bad, and the whole force of Warwick's men seems 
to have been ill placed for concentration. Owing to 
some mismanagement of the officer commanding the 
mounted scouts, the Lancastrians attacked before they 
were expected. " The Queen's men were at hands with 
the Earl's in the town of St. Albans while all things 
were set to seek and out of order, for the prickers came 
not home to bring tidings that the Queen was at hand, 
save one, and he came and said that she was yet nine 
mile off." The first Lancastrian attack on the left, in 
St. Albans town, was beaten back, but in another part 
of the field a fatal disaster took place. A Kentish 
squire named Lovelace, who led a company in the right 
wing, went over to the enemy, and let the Lancastrians 
through the Yorkist line. King Henry was captured 
by his wife's followers "as he sat under a great oak, 
smiling to see the discomfiture of the army." When 
the news ran along the front that treachery was at 
work, and that the King was taken, the bulk of the 
Yorkists broke up and fled. Not more than three 
thousand were slain or taken, but the whole force was 
irretrievably scattered, and the greater part of the 
leaders fled home to their own lands as if the war was 

106 WARWICK ciiap. ix 

Queen Margaret showed her joy at the recovery of 
her husband's person by an exhibition of savage cruelty. 
Lord Bonville and Sir Thomas Kyrriel, who had been in 
charge of Henry and had been captured with him, 
were brought before her. "So she told them they 
must die, and sent for her son the Prince of Wales, and 
said that he should choose what death they should 
suffer. And when the boy — he was eight years old — 
was brought into the tent, she said 'Fair son, what 
manner of death shall these knights, whom you see 
here, die 1 ' And the young child answered ' Let them 
have their heads taken off.' Then said Sir Thomas, 
' May God destroy those who taught thee this manner 
of speech,' but immediately they drew them out and 
cut off both their heads" (February 17th, 1461). 



The dispersion of the Yorkist army seems to have been 
so complete that Warwick could not gather together 
more than four or five thousand of the thirty thousand 
men who had stood in line at St. Albans. With this 
small force he considered himself unable to protect 
London, and he therefore retreated not southward but 
westward, intending to fall back on his own Mid- 
land estates, to raise fresh troops, and join the Earl of 
March in the west. He only sent to London to order 
that his young cousins George and Richard of York — 
now boys of eleven and nine respectively — should be sent 
over-sea to take refuge in Flanders. 

Accordingly Warwick now marched by vile cross- 
country roads, and in the worst days of a February which 
was long remembered for its rains and inundations, 
across Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire to Chipping 
Norton. Here he met with the Earl of March, whose 
proceedings during the last month require a word of 

Edward was at Gloucester when the news of Wake- 
field reached him, and saw at once that troops must be 
raised to help Warwick to defend London. Accordingly 

10S WARWICK chap. 

he moved into the Welsh Marches, and hastily called 
together some ten or eleven thousand men. With these 
he would have marched east, if it had not been that 
Mid Wales had risen in behalf of Queen Margaret, and 
that he himself was beset by forces headed by Jasper 
Earl of Pembroke, Jasper's father Owen Tudor, the 
husband of the Queen Dowager, and James Earl of 
Wiltshire. Before he could move to succour Warwick, 
he must free himself from these adversaries in his rear. 
The campaign in the West was short and sharp. The 
Earl of March met the Welsh at Mortimer's Cross, in 
north Herefordshire near Wigmore, on February 2nd, 
and gave them a crushing defeat. Owen Tudor was 
taken prisoner and beheaded, and his head was set on 
the highest step of the market-cross at Hereford. " And 
a mad woman combed his hair and washed away the 
blood from his face, and got candles, and set them about 
the head burning, more than a hundred, no one hinder- 
ins: her." The Earls of Pembroke and Wiltshire 
escaped, and joined Queen Margaret with the wrecks of 
their army. 

The moment that he had crushed the Welsh Lancas- 
trians and settled the affairs of the March, Edward had 
set out for London, hoping to arrive in time to aid 
Warwick. He could not achieve the impossible, but he 
had passed the Severn, crossed the bleak Cotswolds, 
and reached Chipping Norton by February 22nd. 
Having left some of his troops behind in Wales, he had 
not more than eight or nine thousand of his Marchmen 
with him, under Hastings — destined one day to be the 
victim of Richard of Gloucester — Sir John Wenlock, and 
William Herbert the future Earl of Pembroke. 


The news that reached Warwick and the Earl of 
March at Chipping Norton was so startling that it caused 
them to change their whole plan of operations, and to 
march straight upon London, instead of merely gather- 
ing fresh strength to make head in a new campaign in 
the west Midlands. 

The course of events after the fight of St. Albans had 
been exactly the reverse of what might have been ex- 
pected from the Queen's fiery temper and the reckless 
courage of the Northern bands that followed her. 

The battle had been fought upon February 17th, 
the troops of Warwick had retired westward on the 
18th, the victorious army was within thirteen miles 
of London, and there was nothing to prevent the Queen 
from entering the city next day. It is one of the most 
curious problems of English history to find that the 
Lancastrians lay for eight days quiescent, and made no 
endeavour to replace the King in his capital. Knowing 
the extraordinary apathy which the citizens displayed 
all over England during the Wars of the Roses, we may 
be sure that the Londoners, in spite of their preference 
for York, would not have ventured to exclude the 
Northern army when it claimed admittance at their 

But on this one occasion Queen Margaret displayed 
not only her usual want of judgment, but a want of 
firmness that was foreign to her character. King Henry, 
asserting for once some influence on politics, and assert- 
ing it to his own harm, had determined to spare London 
and the home counties the horrors of plunder at the 
hands of the Northern hordes. Not an armed force 
but a few envoys were sent to London, while the main 

no WARWICK chap. 

body of the troops were held back, and the van pushed 
no farther than Barnet. Simultaneously the King issued 
strenuous proclamations against raiding of any kind. 
This ordinance caused vast murmuring; among the 
Northern Men, observes the Abbot of St. Albans, on 
whom the King was quartered, but had not the least 
effect in curbing their propensity to plunder. 

The Londoners had quite made up their minds to 
submit ; their only thought was to buy their pardon 
as cheaply as possible at the King's hands. On the 
20th they sent the Duchesses of Bedford and Bucking- 
ham — the widows of the great Regent of France and of 
the Lancastrian Duke slain at Northampton — together 
with certain aldermen, to plead for grace and peace at 
the hands of the Queen. The King and Queen were 
found at Barnet, whither they had moved from St. 
Albans, and gave not unpropitious answers, although that 
very morning Margaret had doomed to execution the 
unfortunate Bonville and Kyrriel. As a proof of their 
good intentions they undertook to move back their army 
out of reach of the city ; accordingly on Thursday the 
25th the Northerners, in a state of deep disgust, were 
sent back to Dunstable. 

The first demand which the Queen had made on 
London was for a supply of provisions for her army ; 
and on Friday the 26th the Mayor and aldermen 
gathered a long train of waggons, laden with "all sorts 
of victuals, and much Lenten stuff," and prepared to 
despatch it northward. The city, however, was in a 
great state of disturbance. Public feeling was excited 
by the plundering of the Lancastrians, and news had 
arrived that the cause of York was not lost, and that a 


Yorkist army was marching to the relief of London. 
To the horror of the more prudent citizens, a mob, headed 
by Sir John Wenlock's cook, stopped the carts at 
Newgate, plundered the provisions, and drove the 
waggoners away. 

Such an act was bound to draw down punishment, 
and that same afternoon a great body of Lancastrian 
men-at-arms, under Sir Baldwin Fulford, was pushed 
up to Westminster to overaAve the city. The Londoners 
had to make up their minds that Friday evening 
whether they would fight or submit, and many were 
the heart -searchings of the timid aldermen j but on 
Saturday morning their grief was turned into joy. 
Xews arrived that Warwick and the Earl of March were 
at hand : Fulford's men abandoned Westminster and 
fell back northward ; and ere the day was out the travel- 
stained troops of the Yorkist lords were defiling into 
the city. By nightfall ten thousand men were within 
the gates, and all thought of surrender was gone. 

Thus King Henry's good intentions and Queen 
Margaret's unexpected irresolution had lost London to 
the Lancastrians. But their army still lay in a threat- 
ening attitude at Dunstable, and it seemed inevitable 
that the Earl of March would have either to fight a 
battle or to stand a siege before he was a week older. 

But before the fate of England was put to the arbitra- 
ment of combat there was one thing to be done. The 
cruel deaths of York and Salisbury had driven the quarrel 
between York and Lancaster beyond the possibility of 
accommodation. In spite of all the personal respect that 
was felt for King Henry, it was no longer possible that 
the heir of Duke Richard should be content to pose 

ii2 WARWICK chap. 

merely as the destined successor to the throne. Now 
that Henry was again in the hands of his wife and the 
Beauforts, it was certain that the royal name would be 
used to the utmost against the Yorkists. They must 
have some cry to set against the appeal to national 
loyalty which would be made in the name of King Henry. 

No doubt Warwick and Edward had settled the whole 
matter on their ride from Chipping Norton to London, 
for their action showed every sign of having been long 
planned out. On the Sunday morning, within twenty- 
four hours of their arrival in the city, their army was 
drawn out " in the great field outside Clerkenwell," and 
while a great multitude of Londoners stood by, George 
Bishop of Exeter, the orator of the Neville clan, made 
a solemn statement of Edward's claim to the throne. 
At once soldiers and citizens joined in the shout, " God 
save King Edward ! " and there was no doubt of the 
spontaneity of their enthusiasm. The heart of the 
people was with York, and it only remained necessary 
to legalise their choice by some form of election. 

Save the three Nevilles, Warwick, Fauconbridge, and 
Bishop George, there seems to have been no peer with 
Edward at the moment. Warwick felt that it would 
not look well that his cousin should ostensibly receive 
his crown from the Nevilles alone, whatever might be the 
reality of the case. Accordingly the few Yorkist peers 
within reach were hastily summoned. The Archbishop 
of Canterbury came in from Kent, where he had been 
" waiting for better times." The Duke of Norfolk, Lord 
Fitzwalter, Lord Ferrers of Chartley, and the Bishop of 
Salisbury appeared ere two days were out. Then these 
eight peers, spiritual and temporal, with a dozen or so 


of knights, and a deputation of London citizens, solemnly 
met at Baynard's Castle and declared Edward King. 
There had not been an instance of the election of a 
monarch by such a scanty body of supporters since the 
meeting of the Witan that chose Henry the First. The 
house of Neville and their cousin of Norfolk were practi- 
cally the sole movers in the business. 

Next day, Thursday March 4th, Edward rode in 
state to Westminster with his scanty following of 
notables. There before the high altar he declared his 
title, and sat on his throne, with the sceptre of Edward 
the Confessor in his hand, beneath a canopy, receiving 
the homage and fealty of his adherents. Then embarking 
in a state barge he returned by water to the Tower 
where he fixed his abode, deserting the York family 
mansion of Baynard's Castle. Meanwhile the heralds 
proclaimed him at every street corner as Edward the 
Fourth, King of France and England, and Lord oi 

Every one had been expecting that the coronation 
would be interrupted by the news that Queen Margaret's 
army was thundering at the gates ; but no signs of the 
approach of an enemy appeared, and that same day it 
was known that the Queen had broken up from Dun- 
stable and marched away northward. Her troops were 
in a state of incipient disbandment : they had refused 
to obey the King's proclamation against plunder, and 
had melted away by thousands, some to harry the Home 
Counties, some to bear off booty already obtained. 
The men that still adhered to the standards were so few 
and so discontented that the Lancastrian lords begged 
the Queen to retreat. They had heard exaggerated 


114 WAR WICK chap. 

rumours of the strength of King Edward, and dared 
not fight him. Accordingly Henry, his wife and son, 
and his nobles, with their whole following, rode off 
along the Watling Street, sending before them mes- 
sengers to raise the whole force of the North, and to 
bid it meet their retiring army on the borders of 

The festivities of the coronation had not prevented the 
Yorkist lords from keeping the imminence of their danger 
close before their eyes. The ceremony had taken place on 
Thursday afternoon ; by early dawn on Friday Mowbray 
had ridden off eastward to array his followers in Norfolk 
and Suffolk. On the Saturday Warwick himself marched 
out by the great North road, with the war-tried troops 
who had fought under him at St. Albans and accom- 
panied his retreat to Chipping Norton. He moved on 
cautiously, gathering in the Yorkist knights of the Mid- 
lands and his own Warwickshire and Worcestershire 
retainers, till he had been joined by the whole force of 
his party. For four or five days after Warwick had set 
forth, the levies of the Southern Counties continued to 
pour into London. On the 10th the main body of in- 
fantry marched on to unite with the Earl ; they were 
some fifteen thousand strong, Marchmen from the 
Welsh Border and Kentishmen • for Kent, ever loyal to 
York, had turned out its archers in full force, under a 
notable captain named Robert Home. Finally, King- 
Edward — who had remained behind till the last available 
moment, cheering the Londoners, bidding for the sup- 
port of doubtful adherents, getting together money, and 
sisminc; the manifold documents which had to be drawn 
up on his accession — started with his personal following, 


amid the cheers of the citizens and cries for vengeance 
on King Henry and his wife. 

Warwick had pushed forward cautiously, keeping in 
his front some light horse under John Katcliff, who 
claimed the barony of Fitzwalter. King Edward, on the 
other hand, came on at full speed, and was able to over- 
take his vanguard at Leicester. Mowbray, with the 
troops from the Eastern Counties, was less ready ; he was 
several days behind the King, and, as we shall see, did 
not come up till the actual eve of battle. 

There had been some expectation that the Lancas- 
trians would fight on the line of the Trent, for the 
Northern lords tarried some days at Nottingham. But 
as Warwick pushed on he had always found the enemy 
retreating before him. Their route could be traced by 
the blazing villages on each side of their path, for the 
Northern men had gone homewards excited to bitter 
wrath by the loss of the plunder of London. They had 
eaten up the whole countryside, swept off the horses, 
pulled the very houses to pieces in search of hidden 
goods, stripped every man, woman, and child they met 
of purse and raiment, even to the beggars who came 
out to ask them for charity, and slain every man that 
raised a hand against them. Beyond the Trent, they 
said, they were in an enemy's country. In the eyes of 
every Southern man the measure of their iniquities was 

When Warwick and King Edward learnt that the 
Queen and the Northern lords had drawn their plundering 
bands north of the Trent, they had not much difficulty 
in settling the direction of their march. It was practic- 
ally certain that the Lancastrians would be found on 

n6 WARWICK' chap. 

one of the positions across the Great North Road which 
cover the approach to York. Now, as in every age 
since the Romans built their great line of communication 
between north and south, it would be on the line between 
York and Lincoln that the fate of Northern England 
would be decided. The only doubt was whether the 
Lancastrians would choose to defend the Don or the 
Aire or the Wharfe, behind each of which they might 
take up their position. 

On the Friday, March 26th, the Yorkists crossed 
the Don unmolested, but the news was not long in 
reaching them that the enemy lay behind the next 
obstacle, the Aire, now swollen to a formidable torrent 
by the spring rains, and likely to cause much trouble 
ere it could be crossed. King Henry with his wife and 
son lay at York, but all his lords with their retainers 
lay in the villages about Tadcaster and Cawood midway 
between the Wharfe and Aire, with their central camp 
hard by the church of Towton, which was destined to 
give its name to the coming battle. 

To secure the passage of the Aire was now the task 
that was incumbent on the Yorkists. Accordingly 
their vanguard under Lord Fitzwalter was sent forward 
in haste on to Ferrybridge, where the Roman road 
crosses the stream. Contrary to expectation the place 
was found unoccupied, and its all - important bridge 
secured. The line of the Aire was won ; but the 
Friday was not destined to pass without bloodshed. 
The Northern lords, cursing the carelessness which had 
lost them their line of defence, determined to fall on the 
advanced guard of the enemy, and beat it out of Ferry- 
bridge before the main body should come up. Lord 


Clifford, who commanded the nearest detachment, rode 
off at once from Towton, and charged into Ferrybridge 
while the newly -arrived Yorkists were at their meal. 
Fitzwalter had kept as careless a watch as his 
enemies ; he was taken unprepared, his men were 
routed, and he himself slain as he tried to rally them. 
At nightfall Clifford held the town, and slept there 

Next morning, however, the situation was changed. 
Somerset, or rather the council of the Lancastrian lords, 
had taken no measures to support Clifford. He was left 
alone at Ferrybridge with the few thousand men of his 
original force, while the main army was slowly gathering 
on Towton hill-side eight miles to the rear. Meanwhile 
the Yorkist main body was approaching Ferrybridge 
from the south, and a detached column under Lord 
Fauconbridge, stoutest of Warwick's many uncles, was 
trying the dangerous passage at Castleford, three miles 
away, where there was no one to resist them. Hearing that 
Fauconbridge was already across, and was moving round 
to cut him off from his base, Clifford evacuated Ferry- 
bridge and fell back towards his main body. He had 
already accomplished six of the eight miles of his journey, 
when near Dintingdale Fauconbridge suddenly came in 
upon his flank with a very superior force. Clifford had 
so nearly reached his friends that he was marching in 
perfect security. The Yorkists scattered his men before 
they could form up to fight, and killed him ere he had 
even time to brace on his helmet. The survivors of his 
detachment were chased in upon the Lancastrian main 
army, which was so badly served by its scouts that it 
had neither heard of Fauconbridge's approach nor taken 

u8 WARWICK chap. 

any measures to bring in Clifford's party in safety. 
Nay, so inert were the Lancastrian commanders, that 
they did not, after the skirmish, march out to beat off 
Fauconbridge, whose friends were still miles away, 
painfully threading the bridge of Ferrybridge or the 
ford at Castleford. 

All through Saturday the Yorkists were slowly coming 
up to reinforce their vanguard, but the roads and the 
weather were so bad that the rear was still on the other 
side of the Aire when night fell. However, the main body 
was safely concentrated on a ridge south of Saxton village, 
and probably thirty-five thousand out of Edward's forty- 
eight thousand men were in line, though much famished 
for victuals. The belated rear-guard, which was destined 
to form the right wing of the army on the morrow, was 
composed of the troops from the Eastern Counties under 
Mowbray ; with him were Sir John Wenlock and Sir 
John Dynham, two of Warwick's most trusted friends. 
They were not expected to come up till some hours after 
daybreak on Sunday morning. With the Yorkist main 
body were the King, Warwick, his brother John, his 
uncle Fauconbridge, Lord Scrope, Lord Berners, Lord 
Stanley, Sir William Hastings, Sir John Stafford, Sir 
Walter Blunt, Robert Home, the leader of the 
Kentishmen, and many other South- Country knights 
and squires. 

Two miles north of the Yorkist camp at Saxton, the 
Lancastrians lay in full force on Towton hill-side. They 
had with them the largest army that was ever put into 
the field during the whole war. Somerset, Exeter, 
James Butler the Irish Earl who had endeavoured to 
rival Warwick's power in Wiltshire, Courtney Earl of 


Devon, Moleyns, Hungerford, and Willoughby had 
brought in the South-Country adherents of Lancaster, 
those at least of them whom the fields of St. Albans and 
Northampton had left unharmed and unabashed. Sir 
Andrew Trollope was there, with the remnant of the 
trained troops from Calais who had deserted York at 
Ludford in the previous year. But the bulk of the 
sixty thousand men who served under the Red Rose 
were the retainers of the Northern lords. Henry Percy 
of Northumberland appeared in person with all his 
following. The Durham vassals of the elder house of 
Neville were arrayed under John Lord Neville, the 
younger brother of Ralph of Westmoreland, though the 
Earl himself was (now as always) not forthcoming in 
person. Beside the Neville and Percy retainers were 
the bands of Lords Dacre, Welles, Roos, Beaumont, 
Mauley, and of the dead Clifford — of all the barons and 
knights indeed of the North Country save of the younger 
house of Neville. 

The Lancastrian position was very strong. Eight 
miles north of Ferrybridge the Great North Road is 
flanked by a long plateau some hundred and fifty feet 
above the level of the surrounding country, the first 
rising ground to the west that breaks the plain of York. 
The high road to Tadcaster creeps along its eastern foot, 
and then winds round its northern extremity ; its 
western side is skirted by a brook called the Cock, 
which was then in flood and only passable at a few 
points beside the bridge where the high road crosses it. 
The Lancastrians were drawn up across the plateau, 
their left wing on the high road, their right touching 
the steep bank of the Cock. One flank was completely 

120 WARWICK chap. 

covered by the flooded stream, while the other, the one 
which lay over the road, could only be turned by the 
enemy if he went down into the plain and exposed him- 
self to a flank attack while executing his movement. 
The ground, however, was very cramped for an army of 
sixty thousand men ; it was less than a mile and a half 
in breadth, and it seems likely that the Lancastrians 
must, contrar}^ to the usual English custom, have formed 
several lines, one in rear of the other, in order to crowd 
their men on to such a narrow space. 

The Yorkists at Saxton lay just on the southern 
declivity of the plateau, within two miles of the 
Lancastrian line of battle, whose general disposition 
must have been rendered sufficiently evident by the 
countless watchfires along the rising ground. 

Although they knew themselves to be outnumbered 
by the enemy, Warwick and King Edward were 
determined to attack. Each of them had a father to 
revenge, and they were not disposed to count heads. 
Before it was dawn, at four o'clock on the morning of 
that eventful Palm Sunday, the Yorkist army was 
drawn out. The King rode down the line bidding them 
remember that they had the just cause, and the men 
began to climb the gentle ascent of the Towton plateau. 
The left wing, which was slightly in advance of the 
main body, was led by Fauconbridge ; the great 
central mass by Warwick in person ; the King was in 
command of the reserve. Of the details of the 
marshalling w T e know no more, but the Yorkist line, 
though only thirty-five thousand strong, was drawn up 
on a front equal to that which the sixty thousand 
Lancastrians occupied, and must therefore have been 


much thinner. When Norfolk and the missing right 
wing should appear, it was obvious that they would 
outflank the enemy on the side of the plain. Warwick's 
plan, therefore, was evidently to engage the Lancastrians 
so closely and so occupy their attention that Norfolk 
should be able to take them in flank without molestation 
on his arrival. 

In the dusk of the March morning, with a strong 
north wind blowing in their faces, the clumps of Yorkist 
billmen and archers commenced to mount the hill. No 
opposition was made to their approach, but when they 
had advanced for one thousand yards along the summit 
of the plateau, they dimly descried the Lancastrian host 
in order of battle, on the farther side of a slight dip in 
the ground called Towtondale. At the same moment 
the wind veered round, and a heavy fall of snow com- 
menced to beat in the faces of the Lancastrians. So 
thick was it that the two armies could only make out 
each other's position from the simultaneous shout of 
defiance which ran down each line. Fauconbridge, whose 
wing lay nearest to the enemy, determined to utilise the 
accident of the snow in a manner which throws the 
greatest credit on his presence of mind. He sent for- 
ward his archers to the edge of the dip in the plateau, 
with orders to discharge a few flights of arrows into the 
Lancastrian columns, and then to retire back again to 
the line of battle. This they did ; the wind bore their 
arrows into the crowded masses, who with the snow beat- 
ing into their eyes could not see the enemy that was 
molesting them, and considerable execution was done. 
Accordingly the whole Lancastrian line of archers com- 
menced to reply ; but as they were shooting against the 


wind, and as Fauconbridge's men had withdrawn after 
delivering their volley, it resulted that the Northeners 
continued to pour a heavy flight of arrows into the 
unoccupied ground forty yards in front of the Yorkist 
position. Their fire was so fast and furious that ere 
very long their shafts began to run short. When this 
became noticeable, Fauconbridge led his men forward 
again to the edge of Towtondale, and recommenced his 
deadly volleys into the enemy's right wing. The 
Lancastrians could make little or no reply, their store of 
missiles being almost used up ; their position was 
growing unbearable, and with a simultaneous impulse 
the whole mass facing Fauconbridge plunged down into 
Towtondale, to cross the dip and fall on the enemy at 
close quarters. The movement spread down the line 
from west to east, and in a few minutes the two armies 
were engaged along their whole front. Thus the 
Lancastrians, though fighting on their own chosen ground, 
had to become the assailants, and were forced to incur 
the disadvantage of having the slope against them, as 
they struggled up the southern side of the declivity of 

Of all the battles of the Wars of the Roses, perhaps 
indeed of all the battles in English history, the fight of 
Towton was the most desperate and the most bloody. 
For sheer hard fighting there is nothing that can com- 
pare to it ; from five in the morning to mid-day the 
battle never slackened for a moment. No one ever again 
complained that the Southern men were less tough than 
the Northern. Time after time the Lancastrians rolled 
up the southern slope of Towtondale and flung them- 
selves on the Yorkist host ; sometimes they were driven 


down at once, sometimes they pushed the enemy back 
for a space, but they could never break the King's line. 
Each time that an attacking column was repelled, newly- 
rallied troops took its place, and the push of pike never 
ceased. We catch one glimpse of Warwick in the midst 
of the tumult. Waurin tells how "the greatest press 
of the battle lay on the quarter where the Earl of Warwick 
stood," and Whethamsted describes him "pressing on like 
a second Hector, and encouraging his young soldiers ;" 
but there is little to be gathered about the details of the 
fight. 1 There cannot have been much to learn, for each 
combatant, lost in the mist and drifting snow, could tell 
only of what was going on in his own immediate neigh- 
bourhood. They have only left us vague pictures of 
horror, " the dead hindered the living from coming to 
close quarters, they lay so thick," "there was more red 
than white visible on the snow," are the significant 
remarks of the chronicler. King Henry, as he heard 
his Palm-Sunday mass in York Minster ten miles away 
■ — "he was kept off the field because he was better at 
praying than at fighting," says the Yorkist chronicler — 
may well have redoubled his prayers, for never was there 
to be such a slaughter of Englishmen. 

At length the object for which Warwick's stubborn 
billmen had so long maintained their ground against 
such odds was attained. The column under the Duke 
of Norfolk, which was to form the Yorkist right 
wing, began to come up from Ferrybridge. Its route 

1 There is nothing authentic to be discovered of the story men- 
tioned by Monstrelet, and popularised in Warwickshire tradition, 
that the Earl slew his charger at Towton to show his men that he 
would not fly. 

i2 4 WARWICK chap. 

brought it out on the extreme left flank of the Lancas- 
trians, where the high road skirts the plateau. Too 
heavily engaged in front to suspect that all the army of 
York was not yet before them, Somerset and his 
colleagues had made no provision against a new force 
appearing beyond their left wing. Thus Norfolk's ad- 
vancing columns were able to turn the exposed flank, 
open an enfilading fire upon the enemy's left rear, and, 
what was still more important, to cut him off from all 
lines of retreat save that which led across the flooded 
Cock. The effect of Norfolk's advance was at once 
manifest ; the battle began to roll northward and west- 
ward, as the Lancastrians gave back and tried to form 
a new front against the unsuspected enemy. But the 
moment that they began to retire the whole Yorkist line 
followed them. The arrival of Norfolk had been to 
Warwick's men what the arrival of Bliicher was to 
Wellington's at Waterloo ; after having fought all the 
day on the defensive they had their opportunity at last, 
and were eager to use it. When the Lancastrians had 
once begun to retire they found themselves so hotly 
pushed on that they could never form a new line of 
battle. Their gross numbers were crushed more and 
more closely together as the pressure on their left flank 
became more and more marked, and if any reserves yet 
remained in hand, there was no way of bringing them 
to the front. Yet, as all the chroniclers acknowledge, 
the Northern men gave way to no panic ; they turned 
again and again, and strove to dispute every step 
between Towtondale and the edge of the plateau. It 
took three hours more of fighting to roll them off the 
rising ground ; but when once they were driven down 


their position became terrible. The Cock when in 
flood is in many places unfordable ; sometimes it 
spreads out so as to cover the fields for fifty yards 
on each side of its wonted bed ; and the only safe 
retreat across it was by the single bridge on the 
Tadcaster road. The sole result of the desperate 
fighting of the Lancastrians was that this deadly obstacle 
now lay in their immediate rear. The whole mass was 
compelled to pass the river as best it could. Some 
escaped by the bridge ; many forded the Cock where its 
stream ran shallow; many yielded themselves as 
prisoners — some to get quarter, others not, for the 
Yorkists were wild with the rage of ten hours' slaughter. 
But many thousands had a worse fortune ; striving to 
ford the river where it was out of their depth, or trodden 
down in the shallower parts by their own flying com- 
rades, they died without being touched by the Yorkist 
steel. Any knight or man-at-arms who lost his footing 
in the water was doomed, for the cumbrous armour 
of the later fifteenth century made it quite impossible 
to rise again. Even the billman and archer in his 
salet and jack would find it hard to regain his feet. 
Hence we may well believe the chroniclers when they 
tell us that the Cock slew its thousands that day, and 
that the last Lancastrians who crossed its waters 
crossed them on a bridge composed of the bodies of 
their comrades. 

Even this ghastly scene was not to be the end of the 
slaughter ; the Yorkists urged the pursuit for miles from 
the field, nearly to the gates of York, still slaying as 
they went. The hapless King Henry, with his wife and 
son, were borne out of the town by their flying followers, 

126 WARWICK chap. 

who warned them that the enemy was still close behind, 
and were fain to take the road for Durham and the 
Border. Only Richard Tunstal, the King's Chamber- 
lain, and five horsemen more guarded them during the 

When Warwick and King Edward drew in their men 
from the pursuit, and bade the heralds count the slain, 
they must have felt that their fathers were well avenged. 
Nearly thirty thousand corpses lay on the trampled 
snow of the plateau, or blocked the muddy course of the 
Cock, or strewed the road to Tadcaster and York ; and 
of these only eight thousand were Yorkists. The sword 
had fallen heavily on the Lancastrian leaders. The Earl 
of Northumberland was carried off by his followers 
mortally wounded, and died next day. Of the barons, 
Dacre, Neville, Mauley, and Welles, lay on the field. 
Thomas Courtney the Earl of Devon was taken 
alive — a worse fate than that of his fellows, for the 
headsman's axe awaited him. Of leaders below the 
baronial rank there were slain Sir Andrew Trollope, the 
late Lieutenant of Calais, Sir Ralph Grey, Sir Henry 
Beckingham, and many more whom it Avould be tedious 
to name. The slaughter had been as deadly to the 
Northern knighthood as was Flodden a generation later 
to the noble houses of Scotland ; there was hardly a 
family that had not to mourn the loss of its head or 

The uphill fight which the Yorkists had to wage 
during the earlier hours of the day had left its mark in 
their ranks ; eight thousand had fallen, one man for 
every six in the field. But the leaders had come off 
fortunately ; only Sir John Stafford and Robert 


Home, the Kentish captain, had fallen. So long 
indeed as the fight ran level, the knights in their 
armour of proof were comparatively safe ; it was always 
the pursuit which proved so fatal to the chiefs of a 
broken army. 



On the evening of that bloody Palm Sunday, King 
Edward, Warwick, and the other Yorkist chiefs, slept in 
the villages round the battle-field. Next morning, how- 
ever, they set their weary army on the march to reap 
the fruits of victory. In the afternoon they appeared 
before the gates of York, where the heads of York and 
Salisbury, bleached with three months of winter rains, 
still looked southward from the battlements. The 
citizens had, as was usual in the time, not the slightest 
intention of offering resistance, but they must have felt 
many a qualm as Edward's men, drunk with slaughter 
and set on revenging the harrying of the South by the 
Queen's army, drew up before their walls. 

Edward, however, had already fixed on the policy 
from which he never swerved throughout his reign — 
hard measure for the great and easy measure for the 
small. The Mayor and citizens were allowed to " find 
means of grace through Lord Berners and Sir John 
Neville, brother to the Earl of Warwick" — doubtless 
through a sufficient gift of rose nobles. These two lords 
led the Mayor and Council before the King, who promptly 
granted them grace, and was then received into the town 

chap, xi KING EDWARD AT YORK 129 

" with great solemnity and processions." There Edward 
kept his Easter week, and made every arrangement for 
the subjugation of the North. His first act was to take 
down the heads of his father and his uncle from over 
the gate, and provide for their reverent burial. His 
next was to mete out to his Lancastrian prisoners the 
measure that York and Salisbury had received. The 
chief of them, Courtney Earl of Devon and the Bastard 
of Exeter, were decapitated in the market-place, and 
their heads sent south to be set up on London Bridge. 
James Earl of Wiltshire — long Salisbury's rival in the 
South — was caught a few days later, and suffered the 
same fate. 

The submission of the various Yorkshire towns was 
not long in coming in, and it was soon ascertained that 
no further resistance was to be looked for south of the 
Tees. The broken bands of the Lancastrians had dis- 
appeared from Yorkshire, and Warwick's tenants from 
Middleham and Sherif Hoton were now able to come in 
to explain to their lord how they had fared during the 
Lancastrian ascendency at the hands of his cousins of 
Westmoreland. In common with the few other Yorkists 
of the North, they had received hard measure ; they had 
been well plundered, and probably constrained to pay up 
all that the Westmorelands could wring out of them, as 
arrears for the twenty years during which the Yorkshire 
lands of Neville had been out of the hands of the senior 

A few days after Easter, Warwick and Edward moved 
out of York and pushed on to Durham. On the way 
they were entertained at Middleham with such cheer as 
the place could afford after its plunder by the Lancas- 


130 WARWICK chap 

trians. Nowhere did they meet with any resistance, and 
the task of finishing the war appeared so simple that 
the King betook himself homeward about May 1st, 
leaving Warwick with a general commission to pacify 
the North. John Neville remained behind with his 
brother, as did Sir Robert Ogle and Sir John Coniers, 
the only two Yorkists of importance in the North outside 
the Neville family. The King took with him the rest 
of the lords, who were wanted for the approaching 
festivals and councils in London, and with them the 
bulk of the army. 

The task which Warwick had received turned out to 
be a much more formidable matter than had been 
expected. King Henry, Queen Margaret, the Dukes of 
Somerset and Exeter, Lords Hungerford and Roos, with 
the other surviving Lancastrian leaders, had fled to 
Scotland, where they had succeeded in inducing the 
Scotch regents — Kennedy, Boyd, and their fellows — to 
continue the policy of the late King, and throw them- 
selves heartily into the war with the Yorkists. The 
inducement offered was the cession of Berwick and 
Carlisle, and the former town was at once handed over 
" and well stuffed with Scots." Nor was it only on 
Scotch aid that the Lancastrians relied ; they had deter- 
mined to make application to the King of France, and 
Somerset and Hungerford sailed for the Continent at 
the earliest opportunity. They were stayed at Dieppe 
by orders of the wily Louis the Eleventh, who was 
averse to committing himself to either party in the 
English struggle while his own crown was hardly three 
months old ; but their mission was not to be without its 
results. Putting aside the hope of assistance from France 


and Scotland, the Lancastrians had still some resources 
of their own on which they might count. A few scattered 
bands of Percy retainers still kept the field in North- 
umberland, and the Percy crescent still floated over 
the strong castles of Alnwick, Bamborough, and Dum 

The problem which fell into Warwick's hands was 
to clear the routed Lancastrians out of Northumberland, 
and at the same time to keep good watch against the 
inroads of the Scotch and the English refugees who were 
leagued with them. Defensive and offensive operations 
would have to be combined, for, on the one hand, the 
siege of the Percy castles must be formed — and sieges 
in the fifteenth century were slow and weary work — 
while, on the other, the raids of the lords of the Scotch 
Border might occur at any time and place, and had to be 
met without delay. Warwick was forced to divide his 
troops, undertaking himself to cover the line of the Tyne 
and observe the Northumbrian castles, while his brother 
John, who for his services at Towton had jnst been 
created Lord Montagu, took charge of the force which 
was to fend off Scotch attacks on the Western Marches. 

In June the Scots and the English refugees crossed 
the Border in force; their main body made a push to 
seize Carlisle, which the Lancastrian chiefs, the Duke 
of Exeter and Lord Grey de Kougemont, promised to 
deliver to them as they had already delivered Berwick. 
The town, however, shut its gates ; and the invaders 
were constrained to content themselves with burning its 
suburbs and forming a regular siege. But as they lay 
before it they were suddenly attacked by Montagu, who 
came up long before he was expected, and beat them 

132 WARWICK chap. 

back over the Border with the loss of several thousand 
men ; among the slain was John Clifford, brother to the 
peer who had fallen at Towton. 

Almost simultaneously another raiding party, led by 
Lord Roos and Sir John Fortescu, the late Chief-Justice, 
and guided by two of the Westmoreland Nevilles, 
Thomas and Humphrey, slipped down from the Middle 
Marches and attempted to raise the county of Durham. 
But as they dreAV near to the ancestral Neville seat of 
Brancepeth, they were fallen upon by forces brought 
up by Warwick, and were driven back on June 26th as 
disastrously as the main army for which they had been 
making a diversion. 

These two defeats cooled the ardour of the Scotch 
allies of the house of Lancaster. Moreover, trouble was 
soon provided for them on their own side of the Border. 
There were always discontented nobles to be found in 
the North, and King Edward was able to retaliate on 
the Scotch regents by concluding a treaty with the Earl 
of Ross, which set a considerable rebellion on foot in the 
Highlands and the Western Isles. By the time that the 
autumn came there was no longer any immediate danger 
to be apprehended on the Borders, and Warwick was 
able to relinquish his northern viceroyalty and come 
south, to pay his estates a flying visit, and to obey 
the writ which summoned him in November to King 
Edward's first Parliament at Westminster. 

While Warwick had been labouring in the North, the 
King had been holding his Court at London, free to rule 
after his own devices. At twenty Edward the Fourth 
had already a formed character, and displayed all the 
personal traits which developed in his later years. 


The spirit of the fifteenth century was strong in him. 
Cultured and cruel, as skilled as the oldest statesman in 
the art of cajoling the people, as cool in the hour of 
danger as the oldest soldier, he was not a sovereign 
with whom even the greatest of his subjects could deal 
lightly. Yet he was so inordinately fond of display and 
luxury of all sorts, so given to sudden fits of idleness, so 
prone to sacrifice policy to any whim or selfish impulse 
of the moment, that he must have seemed at times 
almost contemptible to a man who, like Warwick, 
had none of the softer vices of self-indulgence. Still 
in mourning for a father and brother not six months 
dead, with a kingdom not yet fully subdued to 
his fealty, with an empty exchequer, with half the 
nobles and gentry of England owing him a blood-feud 
for their kinsmen slain at Towton, Edward had cast 
aside every thought of the past and the morrow, and 
was bearing himself with all the thriftless good-humour 
of an heir lately come to a well-established fortune. It 
seems that the splendours of his coronation-feasts were 
the main things that had been occupying his mind while 
Warwick had been fighting his battles in the North. 
Reading of his jousts and banquets and processions, his 
gorgeous reception by the city magnates, and his lavish 
distributions of honours and titles, we hardly remember 
that he was no firmly-rooted King, but the precarious 
sovereign of a party, surrounded by armed enemies and 
secret conspirators. 

In the lists of honours which Edward had distributed 
after his return homeward from Towton field, Warwick 
found that he had not been neglected, The offices 
which he had held in 1458-59 had been restored to him : 

134 WARWICK chap. 

he was again Captain of the town and castle of Calais, 
Lieutenant of the March of Picardy, Grand Chamberlain 
of England, and High Steward of the Duchy of 
Lancaster. In addition he was now created Constable 
of Dover and Warden of the Cinque Ports, and made 
Master of the Mews and Falcons, and Steward of the 
Manor and Forest of Feckenham. His position in the 
North, too, was made regular by his appointment as 
Warden and Commissary General of the East and West 
Marches, and Procurator Envoy and Deputy for all 
negotiations with the Scots. 

Nor had the rest of the Neville clan been overlooked. 
John Neville had, as we have already mentioned, 
received the barony of Montagu. George Neville the 
Bishop of Exeter was again Chancellor. Fauconbridge, 
who had fought so manfully at Towton, was created 
Earl of Kent. Moreover, Sir John Wenlock, Warwick's 
most faithful adherent, who had done him such good 
service at Sandwich in 1459, was made a baron. We 
shall always find him true to the cause of his patron 
down to his death at Tewkesbury field. Although 
several other creations swelled the depleted ranks of 
the peerage at the same time, the Nevilles could not 
complain that they had failed to receive their due share 
of the rewards. 

Nor would it seem that at first the King made any 
effort to resent the natural ascendency which his cousin 
exercised over his counsels. The experienced warrior 
of thirty-three must still have overborne the precocious 
lad of twenty when their wills came into contact. The 
campaigns of 1459-60, in which he had learnt soldiering 
under Warwick, must have long remained impressed 


on Edward's mind, even after he had won his own 
laurels at Mortimer's Cross and shared with equal 
honours in the bloody triumph of Towton. So long as 
Richard Neville was still in close and constant contact 
with the young King, his ascendency was likely to 
continue. It was when, in the succeeding years, his 
duties took him for long periods far from Edward's 
side, that the Earl was to find his cousin first growing 
indifferent, then setting his own will against his 
adviser's, then deliberately going to work to override 
every scheme that came to him from any member of 
the Neville house. 

We have no particular notice of Warwick's personal 
doings in the Parliament which sat in November and 
December 1461 ; but the language of his brother 
George the Chancellor represents, no doubt, the atti- 
tude which the whole family adopted. His text was 
"Amend your ways and your doings," and the tenor 
of his discourse was to point out that the ills of England 
during the last generation came from the national 
apostasy in having deserted the rightful heirs so long 
in behalf of the usurping house of Lancaster. Now 
that a new reign had commenced, a reform in national 
morality should accompany the return of the English 
to their lawful allegiance. The sweeping acts of 
attainder against fourteen peers and many scores of 
knights and squires which the Yorkist Parliament 
passed might not seem a very propitious beginning for 
the new era, but at any rate it should be remembered 
to the credit of the Nevilles that the King's Council 
under their guidance tempered the zeal of the Commons 
by many limitations which guarded the rights of numer- 

136 WARWICK chap, xi 

ous individuals who would have been injured by the 
original proposals. 

Moreover, the Government allowed the opportunity 
of reconciliation to many of the more lukewarm 
adherents of Lancaster, who had not been personally 
engaged in the last struggle. It is to Warwick's credit 
that his cousin Ralph of Westmoreland was admitted 
to pardon, and not taken to task for the doings of his 
retainers, under the conduct of his brother, in the 
campaign of Wakefield and St. Albans. Ralph was 
summoned to the Parliament, and treated no worse 
than if he had been a consistent adherent of York. 
The same favour was granted to the Earl of Oxford, 
till he forfeited it by deliberate conspiracy against the 
King. Sanguine men were already beginning to hope 
that King Edward and his advisers might be induced 
to end the civil wars by a general grant of amnesty, 
and might invite his rival Henry to return to England 
as the first subject of the Crown. Such mercy and 
reconciliation, however, were beyond the mind of the 
ordinary partisan of York; and the popular feeling of 
the day was probably on the side of the correspondent 
of the Pastons, who complained " that the King receives 
such men as have been his great enemies, and great 
oppressors of his Commons, while such as have assisted 
his Highness be not rewarded \ which is to be considered, 
or else it will hurt, as seemeth me but reason." 



Whatever the partisans of peace may have hoped in 
the winter of 1461-62, there was in reality no prospect 
of a general pacification so long as the indomitable 
Margaret of Anjou was still at liberty and free to plot 
against the quiet of England. The defeats of her Scotch 
allies in the summer of 1461 had only spurred her to 
fresh exertions. In the winter, while Edward's Parlia- 
ment was sitting at Westminster, she was busy hatching 
a new scheme for simultaneous risings in various parts 
of England, accompanied by descents from France and 
Brittany aided by a Castilian fleet. Somerset and 
Hungerford had got some countenance from the King of 
France, and Margaret's own hopeful heart built on this 
small foundation a great scheme for the invasion of 
England. A Scotch raid, a rising in Wales, a descent of 
Bretons upon Guernsey and Jersey, and a great French 
landing at Sandwich, were to synchronise : "if weather 
and wind had served them, they should have had one 
hundred and twenty thousand men on foot in England 
upon Candlemass Day." But weather and wind were un- 
propitious, and the only tangible result of the plan was to 
cost the life of the Earl of Oxford, who had been told 

138 WARWICK chap. 

off to head the insurgents of the Eastern Counties. He 
had been taken into favour by King Edward, and we 
need have small pity for him when he was detected in 
correspondence with the Queen at the very time that he 
was experiencing the clemency of her rival. But it was 
an evil sign of the times that he and his son were 
executed, not after a regular trial before their peers, but 
by a special and unconstitutional court held by the Earl 
of Worcester as Constable of England. For this evil 
precedent Warwick must take the blame no less than 

But Margaret of Anjou had not yet exhausted her 
energ}^. So soon as the storms of winter were over 
and Somerset returned from France without the promised 
succours, she resolved to set out in person to stimulate 
the zeal of Louis the Eleventh, and to gather help from her 
various relatives on the Continent. Escaping from Scot- 
land by the Irish Sea, she rounded the Land's End and 
came ashore with her young son in Brittany. The Duke 
gave her twelve thousand crowns, and passed her on to her 
father E6n6 in Anjou. From his Court she went on to 
King Louis, who lay at Rouen. With him she had more 
success than might have been expected, though far less 
of course than she had hoped. Louis was able to show 
that he had already got together a fleet, reinforced by 
some Breton and Castilian vessels, in the mouth of the 
Seine. In return for an agreement by which Margaret 
promised the cession of Calais, and perhaps that of the 
Channel Isles, he undertook to engage frankly in the 
war, and to put at Margaret's disposition a force for the 
invasion of England. The wa}^ in which Louis chose a 
leader for this army was very characteristic of the man. 


He had in close confinement at the time a favourite of 
his father and an enemy of his own, Peter de Brez6, 
Count of Maulevrier and Seneschal of Normandy. De 
Breze was a gallant knight and a skilled leader ; only a 
few years before he had distinguished himself in the 
English war, and among other achievements had taken 
and sacked Sandwich. The King now offered him the 
choice of staying in prison or of taking charge of an 
expedition to Scotland in aid of Margaret. De Breze 
accepted with alacrity the latter alternative, as much, 
we are told, from chivalrous desire to assist a distressed 
Queen as from dislike for the inside of the dungeons of 
Loches. Quite satisfied, apparently, at getting an enemy 
out of the country on a dangerous quest, Louis gave 
him twenty thousand livres in money, forty small vessels, 
and about two thousand men, and bade him take the 
Queen whither she would go. 

While Louis and Margaret were negotiating, their 
English enemies had been acting with their accustomed 
vigour. When May came round Warwick again resumed 
command of the Northern Border, and marched out to 
finish the work that had been begun in the previous 
year. He was already on Scottish ground, and had 
taken at least one castle north of the Border, when he 
received a herald from the Scotch regents offering to 
treat for peace. By his commission, drawn up in the 
last year, Warwick was authorised to act as pleni- 
potentiary in any such matter. Accordingly he sent 
back his army and went himself to Dumfries, where 
he met Mary, the Dowager Queen of Scotland, and 
the majority of the regents. They concluded an armis- 
tice to last till St. Bartholomew's Day, and then set 


to work to discuss terms of peace. The common report 
ran that the Scots were ready not only to give up the 
Lancastrian cause, but even to deliver over the person 
of King Henry. Moreover, there was talk of an alliance 
by marriage between the English King and a Scotch 
Princess. This new departure, mainly brought about by 
the Queen-Dowager's influence, 1 was not without its effect 
on the Lancastrian partisans, who found themselves left 
unsupported to resist War wick's army, which was, during 
the negotiations, put under the command of his brother 
Montagu and set to reduce the Northumbrian fortresses. 
King Henry fled from the Scotch Court and took refuge 
in one of the castles of the Archbishop of St. Andrews, 
the chief member of the regency who opposed peace 
with England. Lord Dacre, brother of the peer who fell 
at Towton, surrendered himself to Montagu, and was 
sent to London, where King Edward received him into 
grace. Even Somerset himself, the chief of the party, 
lost heart, and began to send secret letters to Warwick 
to ascertain whether there was any hope of pardon for 
him. Meanwhile Naworth Castle was surrendered to 
Montagu, and the more important stronghold of Alnwick 
yielded itself to Lord Hastings, who had been detached 
to form its siege. Bamborough was given up by Sir 
William Tunstal, and of all the Northern fortresses only 
Dunstanburgh remained in Lancastrian hands, and it 
seemed that this place must fall ere the year was out. 

Believing that the war was practically at an end, 
Warwick now turned south, and rode up to London to 

1 Queen Mary had, so the story runs, shown overmuch favour 
to the l^uke of Somerset. He openly boasted of his success in 
love, and the Queen was ever after his deadly enemy. 


lay the Scotch proposal before the King. But he had 
not long left the Border when the whole aspect of affairs 
was once more transformed by the reappearance of 
Queen Margaret on the scene. 

While Montagu and Warwick had been in the North, 
King Edward had been sorely vexed by rumours of 
French invasion. Seventy French and Spanish ships 
were roaming the Channel, and Fauconbridge, who had 
set out to find them with a hastily -raised fleet, came 
home without success. A French force had mustered 
in Picardy, and Queen Margaret lay all the summer at 
Boulogne, tampering with the garrison of Calais, who 
had fallen into mutiny on account of long arrears of 
pay. But Calais failed to revolt, Louis made no serious 
attempt on England, and the Queen at last grew 
impatient and determined to start herself for England, 
though she could only rely on the assistance of Peter 
de Breze and his two thousand men. Setting sail 
early in October, she passed up the eastern coast, and 
landed in Northumberland, expecting that all the North 
Country would rise to her aid. No general insurrection 
followed, but Margaret's arrival was not without effect. 
Both Alnwick and Bamborough fell into her hands — the 
former by famine, for it was wholly unvictualled and 
could not hold out a week ; the latter betrayed by the 
governor's brother. Nor was this all ; the presence of 
the Queen moved the Scotch regents to break off their 
negotiations with England, and denounce the truce 
which they had so recently concluded. All that the 
statesmanship of Warwick and the sword of Montagu 
had done for England in the year 1462 was lost in the 
space of a week. 

1 42 WARWICK chap. 

The moment that the unwelcome news of Margaret's 
advent reached London, Warwick flew to repair the 
disaster. Only eight days after the fall of Bamborough 
he was already at the head of twenty thousand men, 
and hastening north by forced marches. The King, 
ill-informed as to the exact force that had landed in 
Northumberland, had sent out in haste for every man 
that could be gathered, and followed himself with the 
full levy of the Southern Counties. 

The nearer the Yorkists approached to the scene of 
action the less formidable did their task appear. The 
approach of winter had prevented the Scots from put- 
ting an army into the field, and the Lancastrians and 
their French allies had made no attempt to push out 
from their castles. All that they had done was to 
strengthen the three strongholds and fill them with 
provisions. In Alnwick lay Peter de Breze's son and 
some of the Frenchmen, together with Lord Hungerford. 
Somerset, who had dropped his secret negotiations with 
Warwick when his mistress returned from France, held 
Bamborough ; with him were Lord Eoos and Jasper Earl 
of Pembroke. Sir Ralph Percy, the fighting-man of the 
Percy clan — for his nephew the heir of Northumberland 
was a minor — had made himself strong in Dunstanburgh. 
Meanwhile the Queen, on the approach of Warwick, had 
quitted her adherents and set sail for Scotland with her 
son and her treasure, under convoy of de Breze and the 
main body of the French mercenaries. But the month 
was now November, the seas were rough, and off Bam- 
borough she was caught in a storm ; her vessel, with 
three others, was driven against the iron-bound coast, 
and she herself barely escaped with her life in a fishing- 


boat which took her into Berwick. Her treasures went 
to the bottom ; and of her French followers four hun- 
dred were cast ashore on Holy Island, where they were 
forced to surrender next day to a force sent against 
them by Montagu. 

Warwick had now arrived at Newcastle, and King 
Edward was but a few days' march behind him. Though 
the month was November, and winter campaigns, 
especially in the bleak and thinly-populated North, were 
in the fifteenth century as unusual as they were miser- 
able, Warwick had determined to make an end of the 
new Lancastrian invasion before the Scots should have 
time to move. Luckily we have a full account of his 
dispositions for the simultaneous siege of the three 
Percy castles, from the pen of one who served on the 

The army was arranged as follows. King Edward 
with the reserve lay at Durham, in full touch with York 
and the South. The Duke of Norfolk held Newcastle, 
having as his main charge the duty of forwarding con- 
voys of victuals and ammunition to the front, and of 
furnishing them with strong escorts on their way, to 
guard against any attempts made by roving bands of 
Scots or Percy retainers to break the line of communi- 
cations, thirty miles long, which connected Newcastle 
with the army in the field. The force under Warwick's 
immediate command, charged with the reduction of 
the fortresses, was divided into four fractions. The 
castles lie at considerable intervals from each other : 
first, Bamborough to the north on a bold headland 
projecting into the sea, a Norman keep surrounded 
with later outworks ; next Dunstanburgh, nine miles 

144 WARWICK chap 

farther south, and also on the coast; lastly, Alnwick, 
five miles south-west of Dunstanburgh, on a hill, 
three miles from the sea-coast, overlooking the river 
Alne. Dunstanburgh and Bamborough, if not relieved 
from the sea, could be surrounded and blockaded with 
comparative ease ; Alnwick, the largest and strongest of 
the three castles, required to be shut in on all sides, and 
was likely to prove by far the hardest task. Luckily 
for Warwick the Roman road known as the Devil's 
Causeway was available for the connection of his out- 
lying forces, as it runs almost by the walls of Alnwick 
and within easy distance of both Dunstanburgh and 
Bamborough. To each castle its own blockading force 
was attached. Opposite Bamborough, the one of the 
three which was nearest to Scotland and most exposed 
to attack by a relieving army, lay Montagu and Sir 
Robert Ogle, both of whom knew every inch of the 
Border. Dunstanburgh was beleaguered by Tiptoft Earl 
of Worcester and Sir Ralph Grey. Alnwick was ob- 
served by Fauconbridge and Lord Scales. Warwick 
himself, with the general reserve, lay at Warkworth, 
three miles from Alnwick, ready to transfer himself to 
any point where his aid might be needed. 

The forces employed were not less than thirty thou- 
sand men, without counting the troops on the lines of 
communication at Newcastle and Durham. To feed 
such a body in the depth of winter, in a sparsely-peopled 
and hostile country and with only one road open, was 
no mean task. Nevertheless the arrangements of 
Warwick worked with perfect smoothness and accur- 
acy, — good witness to the fact that his talent for 
organisation was as great as his talent for the use of 


troops in the field. Every morning, we are told, the 
Earl rode out and visited all the three sieges "for to 
oversee j and if they wanted victuals or any other thing 
he was ready to purvey it to them with all his power." 
His day's ride was not less than thirty miles in all. 
The army was in good spirits and sure of success. "We 
have people enow here," wrote John Paston, whose 
duty it was to escort Norfolk's convoys to and fro, 
" so make as merry as ye can at home, for there is no 
jeopardie toward." 

A siege at Christmastide was the last thing that the 
Lancastrians had expected at the moment of their 
rising ; they had counted on having the whole winter 
to strengthen their position. No hope of immediate 
aid from Scotland was forthcoming, and after three 
weeks' blockade the spirits of the defenders of Bam- 
borough and Dunstanburgh sank so low that they 
commenced to think of surrender. Somerset, as we have 
already mentioned, had been in treaty with Warwick 
six months before, with the object of obtaining grace 
from King Edward. He now renewed his offer to 
Warwick, pledging himself to surrender Bamborough in 
return for a free pardon. Kalph Percy, the commander 
of Dunstanburgh, professed himself ready to make 
similar terms. 

It is somewhat surprising to find that Warwick 
supported, and Edward granted, the petitions of 
Somerset and Percy. But it was now two } r ears since 
the tragedy of Wakefield, both the King and his cousin 
were sincerely anxious to bring about a pacification, and 
they had resolved to forget their blood feud with the 
Beauforts. On Christmas Eve 1462, therefore, Bam- 


146 WARWICK chap. 

borough and Dunstanburgh threw open their gates, 
such of their garrisons as chose to swear allegiance to 
King Edward being admitted to pardon, while the rest, 
headed by Jasper of Pembroke and Lord Eoos, were 
allowed to retire to Scotland unarmed and with white 
staves in their hands. Somerset and Percy went on to 
Durham, where they swore allegiance to the King. 
Edward took them into favour and " gave them his own 
livery and great rewards," to Somerset in especial a 
grant of twenty marks a week for his personal expenses, 
and the promise of a pension of a thousand marks a year. 
As a token of his lo}^alty Somerset offered to take the 
field under Warwick against the Scots, and he was 
accordingly sent up to assist at the siege of Alnwick. 
Percy was shown equal favour ; as a mark of confidence 
the King made him Governor of Bamborough which 
Somerset had just surrendered. 

After the yielding of his chief adversary, King 
Edward thought that there was no further need for his 
presence in the North. Accordingly he returned home 
with the bulk of the army, leaving Warwick with ten 
thousand men, commanded by Norfolk and the Earl of 
Worcester, to finish the siege of Alnwick. Somerset lay 
with them, neither overmuch trusted nor overmuch 
contemned by his late enemies. Warwick's last siege, 
however, was not destined to come to such an uneventful 
close as those of Bamborough and Dunstanburgh. Lord 
Hungerford and the younger de Breze made no signs of 
surrender, and protracted their defence til] January 6th 

On that day, at five o'clock in the dusk of the winter 
morning, a relieving army suddenly appeared in front of 


Warwick's entrenchments. Though it was midwinter, 
Queen Margaret had succeeded in stirring up the Earl 
of Angus — the most powerful noble in Scotland and at 
that moment practical head of the Douglases — to lead 
a raid into England. Fired by the promise of an 
English dukedom, to be given when King Henry 
should come to his own again, Angus got together 
twenty thousand men, and slipping through the Central 
Marches, and taking to the Watling Street, presented 
himself most unexpectedly before the English camp. 
With him was Peter de Br£ze, anxious to save his 
beleaguered son, and the Queen's French mercenaries. 

For once in his life Warwick was taken by surprise. 
The Scots showed in such force that he thought himself 
unable to maintain the whole of his lines, and concen- 
trated his forces on a front facing north-west between 
the castle hill and the river. Here he awaited attack, 
but nothing followed save insignificant skirmishing ; 
Angus had come not to fight, but only to save the 
garrison. When the English blockading force was with- 
drawn, a party of Scotch horse rode up to the postern- 
gate of the castle and invited the besieged to escape ; 
accordingly Lord Hungerford, the younger de Br6ze, 
Sir Richard Tunstal, and the great majority of the 
garrison, hastily issued forth and joined the relieving 
force. Then Angus, to the surprise of the English, 
drew off his men, and fell back hastily over the Border. 

Warwick had been quite outgeneralled ; but the 
whole of his fault seems to have been the neglect to 
keep a sufficient force of scouts on the Border. If he 
had known of Angus's approach, he would have been 
able to take proper measures for protecting the siege. 

148 WARWICK chap. 

But the main feeling in the English army was rather 
relief at the departure of the Scots than disgust at the 
escape of the garrison. "If on that day the Scots had 
but been bold as they were cunning, they might have 
destroyed the English lords, for they had double their 
numbers," writes the chronicler. The thing which 
attracted most notice was the fact that the renegade 
Somerset showed no signs of treachery, and bore himself 
bravely in the skirmish, " proving manfully that he was 
a true liegeman to King Edward." Henceforth he was 
trusted by his colleagues. 

Some of the Alnwick garrison had been either un- 
willing or unable to escape with Angus. These pro- 
tracted the defence for three weeks longer, but on 
January 30th they offered to surrender, and were 
allowed to depart unharmed to Scotland. The castle 
was garrisoned for the King, and entrusted to Sir John 
Ashley, to the great displeasure of Sir Ralph Grey to 
whom it had been promised. We shall see ere long 
what evils came from this displeasure. 

It seemed now as if the war could not be far from 
its end. No single place now held out for Lancaster 
save the castle of Harlech in North Wales, where an 
obscure rebellion had been smouldering ever since 1461. 
We must not therefore blame Warwick for want of 
energy, when we find that in March he left the inde- 
fatigable Montagu in command, and came up to London 
to attend the Parliament which King Edward had sum- 
moned to meet in April. Nevertheless, as we shall see, 
his absence had the most unhappy results on the Border. 

We have no definite information as to Warwick's 
doings in the spring of 1463, but we cannot doubt that 

xii REVOLT OF 1463 149 

it was by his counsel and consent that in April his 
brother the Chancellor and his friend Lord Wenlock, in 
company with Bourchier Earl of Essex, went over-sea 
to Flanders, and contracted with Philip Duke of 
Burgundy a treaty of commercial intercourse and a 
political alliance. Philip then conveyed the English 
ambassadors to the Court of Louis of France, who was 
lying at Hesdin, and with him they negotiated a truce 
to last from October 1st till the new year. This was to 
be preliminary to a definite peace with France, a plan 
always forward in Warwick's thoughts, for he was 
convinced that the last hope of Lancaster lay in the 
support of Louis, and that peace between Edward and 
the French King would finally ruin Queen Margaret's 

But while George Neville and the Burgundians were 
negotiating, a new and curious development of this 
period of lingering troubles had commenced. Once 
more the Lancastrians were up in arms, and again 
the evil began in Northumberland. Sir Ralph Grey 
had been promised, as we mentioned above, the 
governorship of Alnwick, and had failed to receive it 
when the castle fell. This so rankled in his mind that 
he determined to risk his fortunes on an attempt to 
seize the place by force and deliver it up again to the 
Queen. In the end of May he mastered the castle by 
treachery, and sent for the Lancastrians from over the 
Border. Lord Hungerford came up, and once more 
received command of the castle which he had evacuated 
five months before. The news of this exploit of Grey's 
was too much for the loyalty of Sir Ralph Percy, the 
renegade governor of Bamborough. When de Brez6 

150 WARWICK chap. 

and Hungerford came before his gates he deliberately 
surrendered the castle to them without resistance. 

The exasperating news that the North was once 
more aflame reached Warwick as he banqueted with 
King Edward at Westminster on May 31st. With his 
customary energy the Earl set himself to repair the 
mischief before it should spread farther. On June 
2nd he was once more marching up the Great North 
Road, with a new commission to act as the King's lieu- 
tenant in the North, while his brother Montagu was 
named under him Lord Warden of the Marches. War- 
wick's plan of campaign this time was not to reduce the 
castles at once, but to cut off the Lancastrians from their 
base by forcing the Scots to conclude peace. Accordingly 
he left the strongholds on his right and made straight 
for the Border. His first exploit was to relieve Norham 
Castle, on the English side of the Tweed, which was 
beset by four thousand Scotch borderers, aided by Peter 
de Breze and his mercenaries. Queen Margaret herself 
was in their camp, and had dragged her unfortunate 
consort down to the seat of war. When the English 
appeared, the Scots and French raised the siege and 
retired behind the Tweed, where they set themselves to 
guard the ford called the Holybank. But Warwick was 
determined to cross ; he won the passage by force of 
arms, and drove off its defenders. A few miles across 
the Border he found de Breze's Frenchmen resting in an 
abbey, and fell on them with such vehemence that 
several hundreds were taken prisoners, including the 
Lord of Graville and Eaoul d'Araines, de Breze's chief 

One chronicler records a curious incident at this fififht. 



" At the departing of Sir Piers cle Bressy and his fellow- 
ship, there was one manly man among them, that pur- 
posed to meet with the Earl of Warwick ; he was a 
taberette (drummer) and he stood upon a little hill with 
his tabor and his pipe, tabering and piping as merrily as 
any man might. There he stood by himself ; till my 
lord Earl came unto him he would not leave his ground. " 
Warwick was much pleased with the Frenchman's pluck, 
bade him be taken gently and well treated, " and there 
he became my lord's man, and yet is with him, a full 
good servant to his lord." 

The moment that Warwick was actually across the 
Tweed, the Scotch regents offered him terms of peace. 
To prove their sincerity they agreed to send off Queen 
Margaret. Such pressure was accordingly put upon her 
that "she with all her Council, and Sir Peter with the 
Frenchmen, fled away by water in four balyngarys, 
and they landed at Sluis in Flanders, leaving all their 
horses and harness behind them, so sorely were they 
hasted by the Earl and his brother the Lord Montagu." l 
With the horses and harness was left poor King Henry, 
who for the next two years wandered about in an aim- 
less way on both sides of the Border, a mere meaningless 
shadow now that he was separated from his vehement 

Now at last the Civil War seemed at an end. With 
Margaret over-sea, Somerset a liegeman of York, the 
Northumbrian castles cut off from any hope of succour, 

1 The famous story of the robber and Queen Margaret, placed 
by so many writers after the battle of Hexham, seems quite impos- 
sible. If the incident took place at all, it happened on the other 
side of the Channel. 

152 WARWICK chap. 

and the Scots suing humbly for peace, Warwick might 
hope that his three years' toil had at last come to an 
end. That, after all, the struggle was to be protracted 
for twelve months more, was a fact that not even the 
best of prophets could have predicted. 

After the raid which drove Queen Margaret away, 
and turned the hearts of the Scots toward peace, we lose 
sight of Warwick for some months. We only know 
that, for reasons to us unknown, he did not finish his 
exploits by the capture of the Northumbrian castles, but 
came home in the autumn, leaving them still unsubdued. 
Perhaps after the winter campaign of 1462-63 he wished 
to spend Christmas for once in his own fair castle of 
Warwick. His estates indeed in Wales and the West 
Midlands can hardly have seen him since the Civil War 
recommenced in 1459, and must have required the 
master's eye in every quarter. His wife and his daughters 
too, now girls growing towards a marriageable age as 
ages were reckoned in the fifteenth century, must long 
have been without a sight of him. 

While Warwick was for once at home, and King 
Edward was making a progress round his kingdom with 
much pomp and expense, it would seem that Queen 
Margaret, from the retreat in Lorraine to which she had 
betaken herself, was once more exerting her influence 
to trouble England. At any rate a new Lancastrian 
conspiracy was hatched in the winter of 1463-64, 
with branches extending from Wales to Yorkshire. 
The outbreak commenced at Christmas by the wholly 
unexpected rebellion of the Duke of Somerset. Henry 
of Beaufort had been so well treated by King Edward 
that his conduct appears most extraordinary. He 


had supped at the King's board, slept in the King's 
chamber, served as captain of the King's guard, and 
jousted with the King's favour on his helm ; yet at mid- 
winter he broke away for the North, with a very small 
following, and made for the garrison at Alnwick. 
Probably Somerset's conscience and his enemies had 
united to make his position unbearable. The Yorkists 
were always taunting him behind his back, and when 
he appeared in public in the King's company a noisy 
mob rose up to stone him, and Edward had much ado to 
save his life. But whether urged by remorse for his 
desertion of Lancaster, or by resentment for his treat- 
ment by the Yorkists, Somerset set himself to join the 
sinking cause at one of its darkest hours. 

His arrival in the North, where he came almost alone, 
for his followers were wellnigh all cut off at Durham, 
was the signal for the new Lancastrian outbreak. 
Simultaneously Jasper of Pembroke endeavoured to stir 
up Wales. A rising took place in South Lancashire and 
Cheshire, in which at one moment ten thousand men are 
said to have been in the field : a band set out from Alnwick, 
pushed by the Yorkist garrison at Newcastle, and seized 
the Castle of Skipton in Craven, hard by Warwick's 
ancestral estates in the North Riding ; and Norham on 
the Border was taken by treachery. 

In March Warwick set out once more to regain the 
twice-subdued North. The rising in Cheshire collapsed 
without needing his arms to put it down, and he was 
able to reach York without molestation. From thence 
he sent to Scotland to summon the regency to carry out 
the terms of pacification which they had promised in 
the previous year. The Scots made no objection, and 

154 WARWICK chap. 

offered to send their ambassadors to York if safe escort 
was given them past the Lancastrian fortresses. Accord- 
ingly Montagu started from Durham to pick up his 
troops at Newcastle, where Lord Scrope was already 
arrayed with the levies of the Northern Counties. This 
journey was near being Montagu's last, for a few miles 
outside Newcastle he was beset by his cousin Sir Hum- 
phrey Neville, the Earl of Westmoreland's nephew, who 
fell on his escort with eighty spears as he passed through 
a wood. Montagu, however, escaped by a detour and 
came safely into Newcastle, where he took charge of 
Scrope's force and marched for the Scotch Border. 

At Hedgeley Moor he found Somerset with all the 
Lancastrian refugees barring the way. There had 
mustered all the survivors of the campaigns of 1461-2-3, 
Roos and Hungerford, and Tailboys Lord of Kyme, and 
the two traitors Ralph Grey and Ralph Percy. On April 
15th their five thousand men fell on Montagu, whose 
forces were probably about equal. The shock was 
sharp but short ; and when Ralph Percy, who led their 
van, was struck down, the Lancastrians dispersed. 
Percy, if the tale be true, refused to fly with the rest, 
and died crying, " I have saved the bird in my bosom," 
meaning his loyalty to Henry. He should have remem- 
bered his faith a year before, when he swore fealty to 
Edward at Durham. 

Montagu was now able to reach Scotland unmolested. 
He brought the Scots Commissioners back to York, and 
a fifteen years' peace was safely concluded, the Scots 
promising to give no further shelter to the Lancastrians, 
and the English to disavow the Earls of Ross and Douglas 
whom they had armed against the Scotch regency. 


" An the Scots be true, the treaty may continue fifteen 
years," said the chronicler, "but it is hard to trust Scots : 
they be ever full of guile and deceit." 

Somerset and his followers were now without hope. 
Their refuge in Scotland was cut off and their North- 
umbrian strongholds doomed to a speedy fall, for King 
Edward had been casting all the winter a train of great 
ordnance such as England had never seen before, and the 
pieces were already on their way north. Nevertheless the 
desperate adherents of Lancaster hardened their hearts, 
gathered their broken bands, and made one last desperate 
stand for the mastery of the North. On the Linhills, by 
the town of Hexham, they arrayed themselves against 
Montagu on May 1 3th. But when the Yorkists came in 
sight the hearts of the followers of Somerset failed them. 
All save five hundred melted away from their banners, 
and the small band that stayed to fight was broken, 
beaten, surrounded, and captured by Montagu's four 
thousand men with perfect ease. 

The Lancastrian lords had fought their last field ; one 
and all w r ere slain or captured on the hill a mile outside 
Hexham town, where they had made their stand. 
Montagu marked his triumph by the most bloody exe- 
cutions that had been seen throughout the whole war. 
At Hexham, next day, he beheaded Somerset, Sir Edmond 
Fitzhugh, a moss -trooping captain called Black Jack, 
and three more. On the next day but one he slew at 
Newcastle Lord Boos, Lord Hungerford, and three 
others. Next day he moved south to his brother's 
ancestral seat of Middleham, and executed Sir Philip 
Wentworth and six squires. Finally, he conducted to 
York and beheaded there Sir Thomas Hussey and thir- 

156 WAX WICK chap. 

teen more, the remainder of the prisoners of rank who 
had come into his hands. 

For these sweeping executions Warwick must take 
part of the blame. But there is this to be said in 
defence of Montagu's stern justice, that Somerset and 
three or four others of the victims were men who had 
claimed and abused Edward's pardon, and that Roos and 
several more had been spared at the surrender of Bam- 
borough in 1462. The whole body had shown that they 
could never be trusted, even if they professed to submit 
to York ; and the practical justification of their death 
lies in the fact that with their execution ceased all 
attempts to raise the North in favour of the house of 
Lancaster. Public opinion among the Yorkists had 
nothing but praise for Montagu. "Lo, so manly a man 
is this good Lord Montagu," wrote a London chronicler, 
" he spared not their malice, nor their falseness, nor their 
guile, nor their treason, but slew many, and took many, 
and let smite off their heads " ! 

Even before the battle of Hedgeley Moor King 
Edward had set out to reinforce Warwick and Montagu. 
The news of their victories reached him on the way, but 
he continued to advance, bringing with him the great 
train of artillery destined for the siege of the North- 
umbrian fortresses. This journey was important to 
King Edward in more ways than one. How he spent 
one day of it, May 1st, when he lay at Stony Stratford, 
we shall presently see. If Warwick had but known of 
his master's doings on that morning, we may doubt if he 
would have been so joyous over his brother's victories or 
so remorseless with his captured enemies. 

The King came up to York in the end of May, "and 


kept his estate there solemnly in the palace, and there 
he created John Lord Montagu Earl of Northum- 
berland," in memory of his good service during the 
last few months, handing over to him, together with 
the Percy title, the greater part of the great Percy 
estates — Alnwick and Warkworth and Langley and 
Prudhoe, and many more fiefs between Tyne and Tweed. 

Warwick now advanced northward to complete the 
work which his brother had begun in the previous month, 
while the King remained behind in Yorkshire and 
occupied himself in the capture of Skipton Castle in 
Craven. On June 23rd the Earl appeared before 
Alnwick and summoned the place. The Lancastrians 
had lost their leaders at Hexham, there was no more 
fight in them, and they surrendered at once on promise 
of their lives. Dunstanburgh and Norham followed the 
example of Alnwick. Only Bamborough held out, for 
there Sir Ralph Grey had taken refuge. He knew that 
his treachery at Alnwick in the last year could never be 
pardoned, and utterly refused to surrender. With him 
was Sir Humphrey Neville, who had so nearly de- 
stroyed Montagu two months before. 

We happen to have an account of the siege of Barn- 
borough which is not without its interest. When the 
army appeared before the castle Warwick's herald sum- 
moned it in form — 

Offering free pardon, grace, body, and livelihood to all, 
reserving two persons, Sir Ralph Grey and Sir Humphrey 
Neville. Then Sir Ralph clearly determined within himself 
to live or die within the place, though the herald charged 
him with all inconvenience and shedding of blood that might 
befall: saying in thiswise: " My Lord ensureth you upon 
his honour to sustain this siege before you these seven years 

158 WARWICK chap, xii 

so that he win you : and if ye deliver not this jewel, which 
the King our dread Sovereign Lord hath greatly in favour, 
seeing it marches so nigh unto his enemies of Scotland, whole 
and unbroken with ordnance, and if ye suffer any great guns 
to be laid against it, it shall cost you a head for every gun 
shot, from the head of the chief man to the head of the least 
person within." But Sir Ralph departed from the herald, 
and put him in endeavour to make defence. 

Warwick was therefore compelled to have recourse to 
his battering train, the first that had been used to effect 
in an English siege. 

So all the King's guns that were charged began to shoot 
upon the said castle." " Newcastle, the King's greatest gun, 
and " London," the second gun of iron, so betide the place 
that the stones of the walls flew into the sea. " Dijon," a 
brass gun of the King's, smote through Sir Ralph Grey's 
chamber oftentimes, and " Edward " and " Richard," the 
bombardels, and other ordnance, were busied on the place. 
Presently the wall was breached, and my lord of Warwick, 
with his men-at-arms and archers, won the castle by assault, 
maugre Sir Ralph Grey, and took him alive, and brought 
him to the King at Doncaster. And there the Earl of Wor- 
cester, Constable of England, sat in judgment on him. 

Tiptoft was a judge who never spared, and Grey 
a renegade who could expect no mercy. The prisoner 
was sentenced to be beheaded, and only spared degrada- 
tion from his knighthood " because of his noble ances- 
tor, who suffered at Southampton for the sake of the 
King's grandfather, Eichard Earl of Cambridge." His 
head was sent to join the ghastly collection standing 
over the gate on London Bridge. 

With the fall of Bamborough the first act of King 
Edward's reign was at an end. 



With Hedgeley Moor and Hexham and the final surren- 
der of the Northumbrian castles ended the last desperate 
attempt of the Lancastrians to hold their own in the 
Xorth. The few surviving leaders who had escaped the 
fate of Somerset and Hungerford left Scotland and fled 
over-sea. Philip de Commines soon after met the chief of 
them in the streets of Ghent "reduced to such extremity 
of want and poverty that no common beggar could have 
been poorer. The Duke of Exeter was seen (though 
he concealed his name) following the Duke of Burgundy's 
train begging his bread from door to door, till at last he 
had a small pension allowed him in pity for his sub- 
sistence." With him were some of the Somersets, John 
and Edmund, brothers of the Duke who had just 
been beheaded. Jasper of Pembroke made his way 
to Wales and wandered in the hills from county to 
county, finding friends nowhere. No one could have 
guessed that the cause of Lancaster would ever raise its 
head again. 

The times of war were at length over, and Warwick, 
like the rest of Englishmen, might begin to busy him- 
self about other things than battles and sieges. In 

i6o WARWICK chap 

July he was at last free, and was able to think of 
turning southward to seek for more than a passing 
visit the Midland estates of which he had seen so 
little for the last five years. After a short inter- 
val of leisure, we find him in September sitting in 
the King's Council, and urging on two measures 
which he held necessary for the final pacification of the 
realm. The first was the conclusion of a definite treaty 
of peace with France. It was from King Louis that 
the Lancastrians had been accustomed to draw their 
supplies of ships and money, and while England and 
France were still at war it was certain that King 
Edward's enemies would continue to obtain shelter and 
succour across the Channel. Accordingly the Earl urged 
on the conclusion of a treaty, and finally procured the 
appointment of himself and his friend and follower 
Wenlock as ambassadors to Louis. The second point 
of his schemes was connected with the first. It was 
high time, as all England had for some time been say- 
ing, that the King should marry. 1 Edward was now 
in his twenty-fourth year, " and men marvelled that he 
abode so long without any wife, and feared that he was 
not over chaste of his living." Those, indeed, who were 
about the King's person knew that some scandal had 
already been caused by his attempts, successful and 
unsuccessful, on the honour of several ladies about the 
Court. Rumour had for some time been coupling 
Edward's name with that of various princesses of a 

1 There seems to be no foundation for the theory that Warwick 
wished the King to marry his daughter Isabel. The Earl moved 
strongly in favour of the French marriage, and his daughter was 
too young, being only thirteen years of age, for a. king desirous of 
raising up heirs to his crown. 


marriageable age among foreign royal families. Some 
had said that he was about to marry Mary of Gueldres, 
the Queen Dowager of Scotland, and others had specu- 
lated on his opening negotiations for the hand of Isabel 
of Castile, sister of the reigning Spanish King. But 
there had been no truth in these reports. Warwick's 
scheme was to cement the peace with France by a 
marriage with a French princess, and in the preliminary 
inquiries which the King permitted him to send to 
Louis the marriage question was distinctly mentioned. 
Louis' sisters were all married, and his daughters were mere 
children, so that their names were not brought forward, 
for King Edward required a wife of suitable years, "to 
raise him goodly lineage such as his father had reared." 
The lady whom Warwick proposed to the King was 
Bona of Savoy, sister to Charlotte Queen of France, a 
princess who dwelt at her brother-in-law King Louis' 
Court and in whose veins ran the blood both of the 
Kings of France and the Dukes of Burgundy. 

King Edward made no open opposition to Warwick's 
plans. The project was mooted to King Louis, safe 
conducts for the English Embassy were obtained, and 
Warwick and Wenlock were expected at St. Omer about 
October 3rd or 4th. But at the last moment, when 
Warwick attended at Eeading on September 28th to 
receive his master's final instructions, a most astounding 
announcement was made to him. We have an account 
of the scene which bears some marks of truth. 

The Council met for the formal purpose of approving 
the marriage negotiations. A speaker, probably Warwick, 
laid before the King the hope and expectation of his 
subjects that he would deign to give them a Queen. 


162 WARWICK chap. 

Then the King answered that of a truth he wished to 
marry, but that perchance his choice might not be to the 
liking of all present. Then those of his Council asked to 
know of his intent, and would be told to what house he 
would go. To which the King replied in right merry guise 
that he would take to wife Dame Elizabeth Grey, the daughter 
of Lord Kivers. But they answered him that she was not 
his match, however good and however fair she might be, and 
that he must know well that she was no wife for such a high 
prince as himself ; for she was not the daughter of a duke or 
earl, but her mother the Duchess of Bedford had married a 
simple knight, so that though she was the child of a duchess 
and the niece of the Count of St. Pol, still she was no wife 
for him. When King Edward heard these sayings of the 
lords of his blood and his Council, which it seemed good to 
them to lay before him, he answered that he should have no 
other wife and that such was his good pleasure. 

Then came the clinching blow; no other wife could he 
have — for he was married to Dame Elizabeth already ! 

In fact, five months before, on May 1st, when he 
ought to have been far on his way to the North, King 
Edward had secretly ridden over from Stony Stratford 
to Grafton in Northamptonshire, and wedded the 
lady. No one had suspected the marriage, for the 
King had had but a short and slight acquaintance with 
Elizabeth Grey, who had been living a retired life ever 
since her husband, a Lancastrian knight, fell in the 
moment of victory at the second battle of St. Albans. 
Edward had casually met her, had been conquered by 
her fair face, and had made hot love to her. Elizabeth 
was clever and cautious ; she would hear of nothing but 
a formal offer of marriage, and the young King, perfectly 
infatuated by his passion, had wedded her in secret at 
Grafton in the presence of no one save her mother and 


two other witnesses. This was the urgent private 
business which had kept him from appearing to open 
his Parliament at York. 

The marriage was a most surprising event. Lord 
Rivers, the lady's father, had been a keen Lancastrian. 
He it was who had been captured at Sandwich in 14G0, 
and brought before "Warwick and Edward to undergo 
that curious scolding which we have elsewhere recorded. 
And now this " made lord, who had won his fortune by 
his marriage," had become the King's father-in-law. 
Dame Elizabeth herself was seven years older than her 
new husband, and was the mother of children twelve 
and thirteen years of age. The public was so astonished 
at the match that it was often said that the Queen's 
mother, the old Duchess of Bedford, must have given 
King Edward a love philtre, for in no other way could 
the thing be explained. 

Warwick and the rest of the lords of the Council 
were no less vexed than astonished by this sudden 
announcement. The Earl had broached the subject 
of the French marriage to King Louis, and was 
expected to appear within a few days to submit the 
proposal for acceptance. The King, knowing all the 
time that the scheme was impossible, had allowed him 
to commit himself to it, and now left him to explain to 
King Louis that he had been duped in the most egregi- 
ous way, and had been excluded from his master's 
confidence all along. Very naturally the Earl let the 
embassy drop ; he could not dare to appear before the 
French King to ask for peace, when the bond of union 
which he had promised to cement it was no longer 

1 64 WARWICK chap. 

But vexed and angered though he must have been at 
the way in which he had been treated, Warwick was too 
loyal a servant of the house of York to withdraw from 
his master's Council. He bowed to necessity, and 
acquiesced in what he could not approve. Accordingly 
Warwick attended next day to hear the King make 
public announcement of his marriage in Heading Abbey 
on the feast of St. Michael, and he himself, in com- 
pany with George of Clarence the King's brother, 
led Dame Elizabeth up to the seat prepared for her 
beside her husband, and bowed the knee to her as 

For a few months it seemed as if the King's marriage 
had been a single freak of youthful passion, and the 
domination of the house of Neville in the royal Councils 
appeared unshaken. As if to make amends for his late 
treatment of Warwick, Edward raised his brother 
George Neville the Chancellor to the vacant Arch- 
bishopric of York, and in token of confidence sent the 
Earl as his representative to prorogue a Parliament 
summoned to meet on November 4th. 

But these marks of regard were not destined to 
continue. The favours of the King, though there was 
as yet no open breach between him and his great 
Minister, were for the future bestowed in another 
quarter. The house of Eivers was almost as prolific as 
the house of Neville ; the Queen had three brothers, 
five sisters, and two sons, and for them the royal in- 
fluence was utilised in the most extraordinary way 
during the next two years. Nor was it merely inordi- 
nate affection for his wife that led King Edward to 
squander his wealth and misuse his power for the 


benefit of her relatives. It soon became evident that he 
had resolved to build up with the aid of the Queen's 
family one of those great allied groups of noble houses 
whose strength the fifteenth century knew so well — a 
group that should make him independent of the control 
of the Nevilles. A few days after the acknowledgment 
of the Queen, began a series of marriages in the Rivers 
family, which did not cease for two years. In October 
1464, immediately after the scene at Reading, the 
Queen's sister Margaret was married to Thomas Lord 
Maltravers, the heir of the wealthy Earl of Arundel. 
In January 1465 John Woodville, the youngest of her 
brothers, wedded the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk. 
This was a disgraceful match : the bridegroom was just 
of age, the bride quite old enough to be his grandmother ; 
but she was a great heiress, and the King persuaded 
her to marry the sordid young man. Within eighteen 
months more, nearly the whole of the family had been 
married off : Anne Woodville to the heir of Bourchier 
Earl of Essex ; Mary Woodville to the eldest son of 
Lord Herbert, the King's most intimate counsellor after 
Warwick in his earlier years ; Eleanor Woodville to 
George Grey heir of the Earl of Kent ; and Catherine 
Woodville, most fortunate of all, to the young Duke of 
Buckingham, grandson of the old Duke who had fallen 
at Northampton. To end the tale of the alliances of 
this most fortunate family, it is only necessary to add 
that even before Queen Elizabeth's marriage her eldest 
brother Anthony had secured the hand of Elizabeth, 
heiress of the Lord Scales who was slain on the Thames 
in 1460. Truly the Woodville marriages may compare 
not unfavourably with those of the Nevilles ! 

1 66 WARWICK chap. 

While the King was heaping his favours on the 
house of Bivers, Warwick was still employed from time 
to time in the service of the Crown. But he could no 
longer feel that he had the chief part in guiding his 
monarch's policy. Indeed, the King seems to have even 
gone out of his way to carry out every scheme on a 
different principle from that which the Earl adopted. 
In the spring of 1465, at the time of the Queen's formal 
coronation in May — a ceremony which he was glad 
enough to escape — Warwick went over-sea to conduct 
negotiations with the French and Burgundians. He 
met the Burgundian ambassadors at Boulogne, and those 
of France at Calais. It was a critical time for both 
France and Burgundy, for the War of the Public Weal 
had just broken out, and each party was anxious to 
secure the friendship, or at least the neutrality of 
England. With the Burgundians, whom Warwick met 
first, no agreement could be made, for the Count of 
Charolois, who had now got the upper hand, of his aged 
father Duke Philip, refused to make any pledges against 
helping the Lancastrians. He was at this very time 
pensioning the exiled Somersets and Exeter, and almost 
reckoned himself a Lancastrian prince, because his 
mother, Isabel of Portugal, was a granddaughter of John 
of Gaunt. Warwick and Charles of Charolois were 
quite unable to agree. Each of them was too much 
accustomed to have his own way, and though they held 
high feasts together at Boulogne, and were long in 
council, they parted in wrath. There would seem to 
have been something more than a mere difference of 
ojnnion between them, for ever afterwards they regarded 
each other as personal enemies. King Louis, whose 


ambassadors met Warwick a month later, proved far 
more accommodating than the hot-headed Burgundian 
prince. He consented to forget the matter of the mar- 
riage, and agreed to the conclusion of a truce for 
eighteen months, during which he engaged to give no 
help to Queen Margaret, while Warwick covenanted 
that England should refrain from aiding the Dukes of 
Burgundy and Bretagne, now in full rebellion against 
their sovereign. 

Late in the summer of 1465 Warwick returned home 
just in time to hear of a new stroke of fortune which 
had befallen his master. Henry the Sixth had just been 
captured in Lancashire. The ex -king had wandered 
down from his retreat in Scotland, and was moving 
about in an aimless way from one Lancastrian household 
to another, accompanied by no one but a couple of 
priests. One of Henry's entertainers betrayed him, and 
he was seized by John Talbot of Basshall as he sat at 
meat in Waddington Hall, and forwarded under guard 
to London. At Islington Warwick rode forth to meet 
his late sovereign, and by the King's orders led him 
publicly through the city, with his feet bound by leather 
straps to his stirrups. Why this indignity was inflicted 
on the unfortunate Henry it is hard to say ; there can- 
not possibly have been any fear of a rescue, and Warwick 
might well have spared his late master the shame of 
bonds. Henry was led along Cheapside and Cornhill 
to the Tower, where he was placed in honourable custody, 
and permitted to receive the visits of all who wished to 
see him. 

That Warwick was not yet altogether out of favour 
with King Edward was shown by the fact that he was 

1 68 WARWICK chap. 

asked to be godfather to the Queen's first child, the 
Princess Elizabeth, in the February of the following 
year 1466. But immediately afterwards came the 
succession of events which marked the final breach 
between the King and the Nevilles. In March Edward 
suddenly dismissed from the office of Treasurer Lord 
Mount joy, a friend of Warwick's, and gave the post to 
his wife's father Lord Rivers, whom he soon created 
an earl. The removal of his friend was highly displeas- 
ing to Warwick ; but worse was to follow. Warwick's 
nephew George Neville, the heir of his brother John, 
had been affianced to Anne heiress of the exiled Duke 
of Exeter ; but the Queen gave the Duchess of Exeter 
four thousand marks to break off the match, and the 
young lady was wedded to Thomas Grey, Elizabeth's 
eldest son by her first marriage. This blow struck the 
Nevilles in their tenderest point; even the marriages 
which had made their good fortune were for the future 
to be frustrated by royal influence. 

The next slight which Warwick received at the 
hands of his sovereign touched him even more closely. 
His eldest daughter Isabel, who had been born in 1451, 
was now in her sixteenth year, and already thoughts 
about her marriage had begun to trouble her father's 
brain. The Earl counted her worthy of the highest 
match that could be found in the realm, for there was 
destined to go with her hand such an accumulation of 
estates as no subject had ever before possessed — half 
of the lands of Neville> Montacute, Despenser, and Beau- 
champ. The husband whom Warwick had hoped to 
secure for his child was George Duke of Clarence, the 
King's next brother, a young man of eighteen years. 


Clarence was sounded, and liked the prospect well 
enough, for the young lady was fair as well as rich. 
But they had not reckoned with the King. After a 
long visit which Clarence and his younger brother 
Richard of Gloucester had paid to Warwick in the end 
of 1466, Edward got wind of the proposed marriage. 
" When the Kim* knew that his brothers had returned 
from their visit to the Earl at Cambridge, he asked them 
why they had left his Court, and who had given them 
counsel to visit the Earl. Then they answered that 
none had been the cause save they themselves. And 
the King asked whether there had been any talk of 
affiancing them to their cousins, the Earl's daughters ; 
and the Duke of Clarence" — always prompt at a lie — 
" answered that there was not. But the King, who had 
been fully informed of all, waxed wroth, and sent them 
from his presence." Edward strictly forbade the 
marriage, and for the present there was no more talk of 
it; but Clarence and Warwick understood each other, 
and were always in communication, much to the King's 
displeasure. It did not please him to find his heir pre- 
sumptive and his most powerful subject on too good 

The King waited a few months more, and then pro- 
ceeded to put a far worse insult on his old friends and 
followers. In May 1467 he sent Warwick over-sea, 
with a commission to visit the King of France, and turn 
the eighteen months truce made in 1465 into a per- 
manent peace on the best terms possible. The errand 
seemed both useful and honourable, and Warwick went 
forth in good spirits ; but it was devised in reality 
merely to get him out of the kingdom, at a time when 

170 WARWICK chap. 

the King was about to cross all his most cherished 

Louis was quite as desirous as Warwick himself to 
conclude a permanent peace. It was all-important to 
him that England should not be on the side of Burgundy, 
and he was ready to make the Earl's task easy. The 
reception which he prepared for Warwick was such as 
might have been given to a crowned head. He went 
five leagues down the Seine to receive the English 
embassy, and feasted Warwick royally on the river 
bank. When Rouen was reached "the King gave the 
Earl most honourable greeting ; for there came out to 
meet him the priests of every parish in the town in 
their copes, with crosses and banners and holy water, 
and so he was conducted to Notre Dame de Rouen, 
where he made his offering. And he was well lodged 
at the Jacobins in the said town of Rouen. Afterward 
the Queen and her daughters came to the said town 
that he might see them. And the King abode with 
Warwick for the space of twelve days communing with 
him, after which the Earl departed back into England." 
And with him went as Ambassadors from France the 
Archbishop of Narbonne, the Bastard of Bourbon 
(Admiral of France), the Bishop of Bayeux, Master 
Jean de Poupencourt, and William Monipenny, a Scotch 
agent in whom the King placed much confidence. 

Warwick and the French Ambassadors landed at 
Sandwich, where they had a hearty reception ; for the 
people of Sandwich, like all the men of Kent, were great 
supporters of the Earl. Posts were sent forward to 
notify their arrival to the King, and the party then set 
out to ride up to London. As they drew near the city 


the Earl was somewhat vexed to find that no one came 
forth to welcome them on the King's behalf ; but pre- 
sently the Duke of Clarence came riding alone to meet 
him, and brought him intelligence which turned his 
satisfaction at the success of the French negotiations 
into bitter vexation of spirit. 

When Warwick had got well over-sea, the King had 
proceeded to work out his own plans, secure that he 
would not be interrupted. He had really determined to 
make alliance with Burgundy and not with France ; and 
the moment that the coast was clear a Burgundian 
emissary appeared in London. Antony "the Grand 
Bastard," the trusted agent of the Court of Charolois, 
ascended the Thames at the very moment that Warwick 
was ascending the Seine. Ostensibly he came on a 
chivalrous errand, to joust with the Queen's brother 
Lord Scales in honour of all the ladies of Burgundy. 
The passage of arms was duly held, to the huge delight 
of the populace of London, and the English chroniclers 
give us all its details — instead of relating the important 
political events of the year. But the real object of the 
Bastard's visit was to negotiate an English alliance for 
his brother ; and he was so successful that he returned to 
Flanders authorised to promise the hand of the King's 
sister Margaret to the Count of Charolois. 

But Warwick had not merely to learn that the King 
had stultified his negotiations with France by making an 
agreement with Burgundy behind his back. He was 
now informed that, only two days before his arrival, 
Edward had gone, without notice given or cause assigned, 
to his brother the Archbishop of York, who lay ill at his 
house by Westminster Barrs, and suddenly dismissed him 

172 WARWICK chap. 

from the Chancellorship and taken the great seal from 
him. Open war had been declared on the house of 
Neville. 1 

But bitterly vexed though he was at his sovereign's 
double dealing, Warwick proceeded to carry out the 
forms of his duty. He called on the King immediately 
on his arrival, announced the success of his embassy, and 
craved for a day of audience for the French Ambassadors. 
" When the Earl spoke of all the good cheer that King 
Louis had made him, and how he had sent him the keys 
of every castle and town that he passed through, he per- 
ceived from the King's countenance that he was paying 
no attention at all to what he was saying, so he betook 
himself home, sore displeased." 

Next day the French had the audience. The King 
received them in state, surrounded by Rivers, Scales, 
John Woodville, and Lord Hastings. "The Ambassa- 
dors were much abashed to see him, for he showed him- 
self a prince of a haughty bearing." Warwick then 
introduced them, and Master Jean de Poupencourt, 
as spokesman for the rest, laid the proposals of Louis 
before the King. Edward briefly answered that he had 
pressing business, and could not communicate with them 
himself ; they might say their say to certain lords whom 
he would appoint for the purpose. Then they were 
ushered out of his presence. It was clear that he would 
do nothing for them ; indeed the whole business had 

1 It seems impossible to work out to any purpose the statement 
of Polidore Vergil and others that Warwick's final breach with the 
King was caused by Edward's offering violence to a lady of the 
house of Neville. Lord Lytton, of coarse, was justified in using 
this hint for his romance, but the historian finds it too vague and 


only been concocted to get Warwick out of the way. It 
was abortive, and had been intended to be so. 

The Earl on leaving the palace was bursting with 
rage \ his ordinary caution and affability were gone, and 
he broke out in angry words even before the foreigners. 
" As they rowed home in their barge the Frenchmen had 
many discourses with each other. But Warwick was so 
wroth that he could not contain himself, and he said to 
the Admiral of France, ' Have you not seen what traitors 
there are about the King's person V But the Admiral 
answered, 'My Lord, I pray you grow not hot; for 
some day you shall be well avenged.' But the Earl 
said, ' Know that those very traitors were the men who 
have had my brother displaced from the office of Chan- 
cellor, and made the King take the seal from him.' " 

Edward went to Windsor next day, taking no farther 
heed of the Ambassadors. He appointed no one to treat 
with them, and they remained six weeks without hearing 
from him, seeing no one but Warwick, who did his best 
to entertain them, and Warwick's new ally the Duke 
of Clarence. At last they betook themselves home, 
having accomplished absolutely nothing. On the eve of 
their departure the King sent them a beggarly present 
of hunting-horns, leather bottles, and mastiffs, in return 
for the golden hanaps and bowls and the rich jewellery 
which they had brought from France. 

Warwick would have nothing more to do with his 
master. He saw the Ambassadors back as far as Sand- 
wich, and then went off in high dudgeon to Middleham. 
There he held much deep discourse with his brothers, 
George the dispossessed Chancellor, and John of Mon- 
tagu the Earl of Northumberland. At Christmas the 

174 WARWICK chap, xin 

King summoned him to Court ; he sent back the reply 
that "never would he come again to Council while all 
his mortal enemies, who were about the King's person, 
namely, Lord Rivers the Treasurer, and Lord Scales 
and Lord Herbert and Sir John Woodville, remained 
there present." The breach between Warwick and his 
master was now complete. 



Great ministers who have been accustomed to sway the 
destinies of kingdoms, and who suddenly find themselves 
disgraced at their master's caprice, have seldom been 
wont to sit down in resignation and accept their fall 
with equanimity. Such a line of conduct requires a 
self-denial and a high-flown loyalty to principle which 
are seldom found in the practical statesman. If the 
fallen minister is well stricken in years, and the fire has 
gone out of him, he may confine himself to sermons on 
the ingratitude of kings. If his greatness has been 
purely official, and his power entirely dependent on the 
authority entrusted to him by his master, his discontent 
may not be dangerous. But Warwick was now in the 
very prime of his life, — he was just forty, — and he was 
moreover by far the most powerful subject within the 
four seas. It was sheer madness in King Edward to 
goad such a man to desperation by a series of deliberate 

This was no mere case of ordinary ingratitude. If 
ever one man had made another, Richard Neville had 
made Edward Plantagenet. He had taken charge of 
him, a raw lad of eighteen, at the moment of the 


disastrous rout of Ludford, and trained him in arms 
and statecraft with unceasing care. Twice had he 
saved the lost cause of York, in 1459 and in 1461. He 
had spent five years in harness, in one long series of 
battles and sieges, that his cousin might wear his crown 
in peace. He had compassed sea and land in embassies 
that Edward might be safe from foreign as well as from 
domestic foes. He had seen his father and his brother 
fall by the axe and the sword in the cause of York. He 
had seen his mother and his wife fugitives on the face 
of the earth, his castles burnt, his manors wasted, his 
tenants slain, all that the son of Richard Plantagenet 
might sit on the throne that was his father's due. 

Warwick then might w r ell be cut to the heart at his 
master's ingratitude. It was no marvel if, after the 
King's last treachery to him in the matter of the French 
embassy, he retired from Court and sent a bitter answer 
to Edward's next summons. After the open breach 
there were now two courses open to him : the first to 
abandon all his schemes, and betake himself in silent 
bitterness to the management of his vast estates ; the 
second was to endeavour to win his way back to power 
by the ways which medieval England knew only too 
well — the way which had served Simon de Montfort, 
and Thomas of Lancaster, and Eicharcl of York; the 
way that had led Simon and Thomas and Richard to 
their bloody graves. The first alternative was no doubt 
the one that the perfect man, the ideally loyal and 
unselfish knight, should have chosen. But Richard 
Neville was no perfect man ; he was a practical states- 
man — "the cleverest man of his time," says one who 
had observed him closely ; and his long tenure of 


power had made him look upon the first place in the 
Council of the King as his right and due. His enemies 
the Woodvilles and Herberts had driven him from his 
well-earned precedence by the weapons that they could 
use — intrigue and misrepresentation ; what more natural 
than that he should repay them by the weapon that he 
could best employ, the iron hand of armed force 1 

Hitherto the career of Warwick had been singularly 
straightforward and consistent. Through thick and thin 
he had supported the cause of York and never wavered 
in his allegiance to it. It must not be supposed that he 
changed his whole policy when his quarrel with the 
King came to a head. As his conduct in 1469, when 
his ungrateful master was in his power, was destined to 
show, he had no further design than to reconquer for 
himself the place in the royal Council which had been 
his from 1461 to 1464. Later events developed his 
plans further than he had himself expected, but it is 
evident that at first his sole design was to clear away 
the Woodvilles. The only element in his programme 
which threatened to lead to deeper and more treasonable 
plans was his connection with his would-be son-in-law 
George of Clarence. The handsome youth who pro- 
fessed such a devotion to him, followed his advice with 
such docility, and took his part so warmly in the quarrel 
with the King, seems from the first to have obtained a 
place in his affections greater than Edward had ever 
won. But Clarence had his ambitions • what they were 
and how far they extended the Earl had not as yet 

Warwick had now the will to play his master's new 
ministers an ill turn ; that he had also the power to do 


178 WARWICK chap. 

so none knew better than himself. The lands of Neville 
and Montacute, Beauchamp and Despenser united could 
send into the field a powerful army. Moreover, his 
neighbours, in most of the counties where his influence 
prevailed, had bound themselves to him by taking his 
livery ; barons as well as knights were eager to be of 
his " Privy Council," to wear his Ragged Staff and ride in 
his array. The very aspect of his household seemed to 
show the state of a petty king. Every one has read 
Hollingshead's famous description, which tells how the 
little army of followers which constituted his ordinary 
retinue eat six oxen daily for breakfast. 

Nor was it only in the strength of his own retainers 
that Warwick trusted ; he knew that he himself was the 
most popular man in the kingdom. Men called him ever 
the friend of the Commons, and " his open kitchen per- 
suaded the meaner sort as much as the justice of his cause." 
His adversaries, on the other hand, were unmistakably 
disliked by the people. The old partisans of York still 
looked on the Woodvilles as Lancastrian renegades, and 
the grasping avarice of Rivers and his family was stirring 
up popular demonstration against them even before 
Warwick's breach with the King. A great mob in Kent 
had sacked one of Rivers' manors and killed his deer in 
the autumn of 1467, and trouble was brewing against 
him in other quarters. A word of summons from 
Warwick would call rioters out of the ground in half 
the shires of England. Already in January 1468 a 
French ambassador reports : "In one county more than 
three hundred archers were in arms, and had made 
themselves a captain named Robin, and sent to the 
Earl of Warwick to know if it was time to be busy, and 


to say that all their neighbours were ready. But my 
Lord answered, bidding them go home, for it was not 
yet time to be stirring. If the time should come, he 
would let them know." 1 

It was not only discontented Yorkists that had 
taken the news of the quarrel between Warwick and 
his master as a signal for moving. The tidings had 
stirred the exiled Lancastrians to a sudden burst of 
activity of which we should hardly have thought them 
capable. Queen Margaret borrowed ships and money 
from Louis, and lay in force at Harfleur. Sir Henry 
Courtney, heir of the late Earl of Devon, and Thomas 
Hungerford, son of the lord who fell at Hexham, tried to 
raise an insurrection in the South- West ; but they were 
caught by Lord Stafford of Southwick and beheaded at 
Salisbury. As a reward the King gave Stafford his 
victim's title of Earl of Devon. In Wales the long- 
wandering Jasper Tudor suddenly appeared, at the head 
of two thousand men, supported by a small French fleet. 
He took Harlech Castle and sacked Denbigh ; but a few 
weeks later Warwick's enemy, Lord Herbert, fell upon 
him at the head of the Yorkists of the March, routed his 
tumultuary army, retook Harlech, and forced him again 
to seek refuge in the hills. Herbert, like Lord Stafford, 
was rewarded with the title of the foe he had van- 
quished, and became Earl of Pembroke. While these 
risings were on foot, Lancastrian emissaries were busy all 
over England ; but their activity only resulted in a series 

1 Letter of William Monipenny to Louis the Eleventh. He 
calls it Ic pays de Surfiorkshire, a cross between Suffolk and York- 
shire. But the latter must be meant, as Warwick had no interest 
in Suffolk, and the captain is obviously Robin of Redesdale. 

180 WARWICK chap. 

of executions. Two gentlemen of the Duke of Norfolk's 
retinue were beheaded for holding secret communication 
with the Beauforts while they were in Flanders, follow- 
ing the train which escorted the Princess Margaret at 
her marriage with Charles of Charolois, who had now 
become Duke of Burgundy. In London more execu- 
tions took place, and Sir Thomas Cooke, late Lord 
Mayor, had all his goods confiscated for misprision of 
treason. Two of the Lancastrian emissaries alleged, 
under torture, the one, that Warwick had promised aid 
to the rising, the other, that Lord Wenlock, Warwick's 
friend and supporter, had guilty knowledge of the 
scheme ; but in each case the King himself acknow- 
ledged that the accusation was frivolous — the random 
imagining of men on the rack, forced to say something 
to save their own bones. It was not likely that Warwick 
would play the game of Queen Margaret, the slayer of 
his father and brother, and the instigator of attempts on 
his own life. 

Startled by the sudden revival of Lancastrian energy, 
but encouraged by the easy way in which he had 
mastered it, King Edward determined to give the war- 
like impulses of his subjects vent by undertaking in the 
next year a great expedition against France. He had the 
example of Henry the Fifth before his eyes, and hoped 
to stifle treason at home by foreign war. Among his 
preparations for leaving home was a determined attempt 
to open negotiations with Warwick for a reconciliation. 
The King won over the Archbishop of York to plead 
his cause, by restoring to him some estates which he 
had seized in 1467; and about Easter George Neville 
induced his brother to meet the King at Coventry. 


Warwick came, but it is to be feared that he came fully 
resolved to have his revenge at his own time, with his 
heart quite unsoftened toward his master ; yet he spoke 
the King fair, and even consented to be reconciled to 
Lord Herbert, though he would have nothing to say to 
the Woodvilles. He was also induced to join the com- 
pany which escorted the Princess Margaret to the coast, 
on her way to her marriage in Flanders. After this 
Warwick paid a short visit to London, where he sat 
among the judges who in July tried the Lancastrian 
conspirators of the city. Clarence accompanied him, 
and sat on the same bench. He had spent the last few 
months in moving the Pope to grant him a disposition 
to marry Isabel Neville, 1 for they were within the pro- 
hibited degrees ; but under pressure from King Edward 
the Curia had delayed the consideration of his re- 

The autumn of 1468 and the spring of 1469 passed 
away quietly. Warwick made no movement, for he 
was still perfecting his jjlans. He saw with secret 
pleasure that the French, with whom peace would have 
been made long ago if his advice had been followed, 
kept the King fully employed. It must have given him 
peculiar gratification when his enemy Anthony Wood- 
ville, placed at the head of a large fleet, made two most 
inglorious expeditions to the French coast, and returned 
crestfallen without having even seen the enemy. 

Meanwhile the Earl had been quietly measuring his 
resources. Ho had spoken to all his kinsmen, and 
secured the full co-operation of the majority of them. 
George the Archbishop of York, Henry Neville heir to 

1 Clarence's mother was Isabel's great aunt. 

1 82 WARWICK chap. 

Warwick's aged uncle Lord Latimer, Sir John Comers 
of Hornby, husband of his niece Alice Neville, his cousin 
Lord Fitzhugh, and Thomas "the bastard of Faucon- 
bridge," natural son to the deceased peer who had fought 
so well at Towton, were his chief reliance. His brother 
John of Montagu, the Earl of Northumberland, could 
not make up his mind ; he did not reveal Warwick's 
plans to the King, but he would not promise any aid. 
William Neville of Abergavenny was now too old to be 
taken into account. The rest of Warwick's uncles and 
brothers were by this time dead. 

By April 1469 the preparations were complete. Every 
district where the name of Neville was great had been 
carefully prepared for trouble. Kent, Yorkshire, and 
South Wales were ready for insurrection, and yet all had 
been done so quietly that the King, who ever since he 
had thrown off the Earl's influence had been sinking 
deeper and deeper into habits of careless evil-living and 
debauchery, suspected nothing. 

In April Warwick took his wife and daughters across 
to Calais, apparently to get them out of harm's way. 
He himself, professing a great wish to see his cousin 
Margaret, the newly -married Duchess of Burgundy, 
went on to St. Omer. He there visited Duke Charles, 
and was reconciled to him in spite of the evil memories 
of their last meeting at Boulogne. To judge from his 
conduct, the Earl was bent on nothing but a harmless 
tour ; but, as a matter of fact, his movements were but a 
blind destined to deceive King Edward. While he was 
feasting at St. Omer he had sent orders over-sea for the 
commencement of an insurrection. In a few days it was 
timed to break out. Meanwhile Warwick returned to 


Calais, and lodged with Wenlock, who was in charge of 
the great fortress. 

His orders had had their effect. In the end of June 
grave riots broke out in the neighbourhood of York. 
Ostensibly they were connected with the maladministra- 
tion of the estates of St. Leonard's hospital in that city ; 
but they were in reality political and not agrarian. 
Within a few days fifteen thousand men were at the 
gates of York, clamorously setting forth a string of 
grievances, which were evidently founded on Cade's 
manifesto of 1450. Once more we hear of heavy taxa- 
tion, maladministration of the law, the alienation of the 
royal estates to upstart favourites, the exclusion from 
the royal Councils of the great lords of the royal blood. 
Once more a demand is made for the punishment of 
evil counsellors, and the introduction of economy into 
the royal household, and the application of the revenue 
to the defence of the realm. The first leader of the 
rioters was Robert Huldyard, known as Robin of 
Redesdale, no doubt the same Robin whom the Earl 
had bidden in 1468 to keep quiet and wait the ap- 
pointed time. John Neville the Earl of Northumber- 
land lay at York with a large body of men-at-arms, for 
he was still Lieutenant of the North. Many expected 
that he would join the rioters ; but, either because he 
had not quite recognised the insurrection to be his 
brother's work, or because he had resolved to adhere 
loyally to Edward, Montagu surprised the world by 
attacking the band which beset York. He routed its 
vanguard, captured Hiddyard, and had him beheaded. 

But this engagement was far from checking the 
rising. In a week the whole of Yorkshire, from Tees 

1 84 WARWICK chap. 

to Humber, was up, and it soon became evident in 
whose interest the movement was working. New leaders 
appeared. Sir John Corners, the husband of Warwick's 
niece, and one of the most influential Yorkists of the 
North, replaced Huldyard, and assumed his name of 
Robin of Redesdale, while with him were Henry 
Neville of Latimer and Lord Fitzhugh. Instead of 
lingering at the gates of York, the great body of in- 
surgents — rumour made it more than thirty thousand 
strong — rolled southward into the Midlands. They 
were coming, they said, to lay their grievances before 
the King ; and in every place that they passed they 
hung their articles, obviously the work of some old 
political hand, on the church doors. 

King Edward seems to have been taken quite un- 
awares by this dangerous insurrection. He had kept 
his eye on Warwick alone, and when Warwick was over- 
sea he thought himself safe. At the end of June he 
had been making a progress in Norfolk, with no force 
at his back save two hundred archers, a bodyguard 
whom he had raised in 1468 and kept always around 
him. Hearing of the stir in Yorkshire, he rode north- 
ward to Nottingham, calling in such force as could be 
gathered by the way. As he went, news reached him 
which suddenly revealed the whole scope of the insur- 

The moment that his brother's attention was drawn 
off by the Northern rising, the Duke of Clarence had 
quietly slipped over to Calais, and with him went George 
Neville the Archbishop of York. This looked suspicious, 
and the King at once wrote to Clarence, Warwick, and 
the Archbishop, bidding them all come to him without 


delay. Long before his orders can have reached them, 
the tale of treason was out. Within twelve hours of 
Clarence's arrival at Calais the long -projected marriage 
between him and Isabel Neville had been celebrated, in 
full defiance of the King. Warwick and Clarence kept 
holiday but for one day ; the marriage took place on 
the 11th, and by the 12th they were in Kent with a 
strong party of the garrison of Calais as their escort. 

The unruly Kentishmen rose in a body in Warwick's 
favour, as eagerly as when they had mustered to his 
banner in 1460 before the battle of Northampton. The 
Earl and the Duke came to Canterbury with several 
thousand men at their back. There they revealed their 
treasonable intent, for they published a declaration that 
they considered the articles of Robin of Redesdale just 
and salutary, and would do their best to bring them to 
the King's notice. How the King was to be persuaded 
was indicated clearly enough, by a jDroclamation which 
summoned out the whole shire of Kent to join the 
Earl's banner. Warwick and his son-in-law then marched 
on London, which promptly threw open its gates. 
The King was thus caught between two fires — the open 
rebels lay to the north of him, his brother and cousin 
with their armed persuasion to the south. 

Even before Warwick's treason had been known, the 
King had recognised the danger of the northern rising, 
and sent commissions of array all over England. Two 
considerable forces were soon in arms in his behalf. 
Herbert, the new Earl of Pembroke, raised fourteen 
thousand Welsh and Marchmen at Brecon and Ludlow, 
and set out eastward. Stafford, the new Earl of 
Devon, collected six thousand archers in the South- 

1 86 WARWICK chap. 

Western Counties, and set out northward. The King 
lay at Nottingham with Lord Hastings, Lord Mount- 
joy, and the Woodvilles. He seems to have had nearly 
fifteen thousand men in his company ; but their 
spirit was bad. "Sire," said Mount joy to him in full 
council of war, "no one wishes your person ill, but it 
would be well to send away my Lord of Eivers and his 
children when you have done conferring with them." 
Edward took this advice. Eivers and John Woodville 
forthwith retired to Chepstow; Scales joined his sister 
the Queen at Cambridge. 

Meanwhile the Northern rebels were pouring south 
by way of Doncaster and Derby. Their leaders Coniers 
and Latimer showed considerable military skill, for by 
a rapid march on to Leicester they got between the 
King and Lord Herbert's army. Edward, for once out- 
generalled, had to follow them southward, but the York- 
shiremen were some days ahead of him, and on July 
25th reached Daventry. On the same day Herbert 
and Stafford concentrated their forces at Banbury ; but 
on their first meeting the two new earls fell to hard 
words on a private quarrel, and, although the enemy 
was so near, Stafford in a moment of pique drew off his 
six thousand men to Deddington, ten miles away, leaving 
Pembroke's fourteen thousand Welsh pikemen altogether 
unprovided with archery. 

Next day all the chief actors in the scene were con- 
verging on the same spot in central England — Coniers 
marching from Daventry on to Banbury, Pembroke from 
Banbury on Daventry, with Stafford following in his 
rear, while Warwick and Clarence had left London 
and were moving by St. Albans on Towcester; the 


King, following the Yorkshiremen, was somewhere near 

Coniers and his colleagues, to whom belong all the 
honours of generalship in this campaign, once more got 
ahead of their opponents. Moving rapidly on Banbury 
on the 26th, they found Pembroke's army approaching 
them on a common named Danesmoor, near Edgecott 
Park, six miles north of Banbury. The Welsh took up 
a position covered by a small stream and offered battle, 
though they were greatly inferior in numbers. The 
Northerners promptly attacked them, and though one 
of their three leaders, Henry Neville of Latimer, fell in 
the first onset, gained a complete victory ; " by force 
of archery they forced the Welsh to descend from the 
hill into the valley," though Herbert and his brothers 
did all that brave knights could to save the battle. The 
King was only a few hours' march away ; indeed, 
his vanguard under Sir Geoffrey Gate and Thomas 
Clapham actually reached the field, but both were old 
officers of Warwick, and instead of falling on the rebels' 
rear, proceeded to join them, and led the final attack on 
Herbert's position. 

Thunderstruck at the deep demoralisation among 
his troops which this desertion showed, the King 
fell back on Olney, abandoning Northampton to the 
rebels. Next day — it was July 27th — the brave Earl 
of Pembroke and his brother Richard Herbert, both 
of whom had been taken prisoners, were beheaded in 
the market-place by Coniers' command without sentence 
or trial. Their blood lies without doubt on Warwick's 
head, for though neither he nor Clarence w r as present, 
the rebels were obviously acting on his orders, and if 

1 88 WARWICK chap. 

he had instructed them to keep all their captives safe, 
they would never have presumed to slay them. Several 
chroniclers indeed say that Warwick and Clarence had 
expressly doomed Herbert for death. This' slaughter was 
perfectly inexcusable, for Herbert had never descended 
to the acts of the Woodvilles ; he was an honourable 
enemy, and Warwick had actually been reconciled to 
him only a year before. 1 The execution of the Herberts 
was not the only token of the fact that the great Earl's 
hand was pulling the strings all over England. His 
special aversions, Rivers and John Woodville, were 
seized a week later at Chepstow by a band of rioters — 
probably retainers from the Despenser estates by the 
Severn — and forwarded to Coventry, where they were 
put to death early in August. Even if Pembroke's 
execution was the unauthorised work of Corners and 
Fitzhugh, this slaying of the Woodvilles must certainly 
have been Warwick's own deed. Stafford the Earl of 
Devon, whose desertion of the Welsh had been the 
principal cause of the defeat at Edgecott, fared no better 
than the colleague he had betrayed. He disbanded his 
army and fled homeward ; but at Bridgewater he was 
seized by insurgents, retainers of the late Earl of Devon 
whom he had beheaded a year before, and promptly 
put to death. 

It only remains to relate King Edward's fortunes. 
When the news of Edgecott fight reached his army, it 
disbanded for the most part, and he was left, with no 
great following, at Olney, whither he had fallen back 
on July 27th. Meanwhile Warwick and Clarence, 

1 It is fair to say that Herbert was universally disliked ; he was 
called the Spoiler of the Church and the Commons. 


marching from London on Northampton along the 
Roman road, were not far off. The news of the King's 
position reached their army, and George Neville the 
Archbishop of York, who was with the vanguard, 
resolved on a daring stroke. Riding up by night with 
a great body of horse he surrounded Olney ; the King's 
sentinels kept bad watch, and at midnight Edward was 
roused by the clash of arms at his door. He found the 
streets full of Warwick's men, and the Archbishop wait- 
ing in his ante-chamber. The smooth prelate entered 
and requested him to rise and dress himself. " Then 
the King said he would not, for he had not yet had his 
rest ; but the Archbishop, that false and disloyal priest, 
said to him a second time, 'Sire, you must rise and 
come to see my brother of Warwick, nor do I think that 
you can refuse me.' So the King, fearing worse might 
come to him, rose and rode off to meet his cousin of 
Warwick. " 

The Earl meanwhile had passed on to Northampton, 
where he met the Northern rebels on July 29th, and 
thanked them for the good service they had done Eng- 
land. There he dismissed the Kentish levies which had 
followed him from London, and moved on to Coventry 
escorted by the Yorkshiremen, many of whom must have 
been his own tenants. At Coventry the Archbishop, and 
his unwilling companion the King, overtook them. The 
details of the meeting of Warwick and Clarence with 
their captive master have not come down to us. But 
apparently Edward repaid the Earl's guile of the past 
year by an equally deceptive mask of good humour. 
He made no reproaches about the death of his adherents, 
signed everything that was required of him, and did not 

igo WARWICK chap. 

attempt to escape. The first batch of privy seals issued 
under Warwick's influence are dated from Coventry on 
August 2nd. 

The great Earl's treacherous plans had been crowned 
with complete success. He had shown that half England 
would rise at his word ; his enemies were dead ; his 
master was in his power. Yet he found that his troubles 
were now beginning, instead of reaching their end. It 
was not merely that the whole kingdom had been thrown 
into a state of disturbance, and that men had commenced 
everywhere to settle old quarrels with the sword — the 
Duke of Norfolk, for example, was besieging the Pas ton's 
castle of Caistor, and the Commons of Northumberland 
were up in arms demanding the restoration of the Percies 
to their heritage. These troubles might be put down by 
the strong arm of Warwick ; but the problem of real 
difficulty was to arrange a modus vivendi with the King. 
Edward was no coward or weakling to be frightened 
into good behaviour by a rising such as had just occurred. 
How could he help resenting with all his passionate 
nature the violence of which he had been the victim 1 
His wife, too, would always be at his side ; and though 
natural affection was not Elizabeth Woodville's strong 
point, 1 still she was far too ambitious and vindictive to 
pardon the deaths of her father and brother. Warwick 
knew Edward well enough to realise that for the future 
there could never be true confidence between them again, 
and that for the rest of his life he must guard his head 
well against his master's sword. 

But the Earl was proud and self-reliant; he de- 

1 As witness her dealings with Richard the Third after he had 
murdered her sons. 


termined to face the danger and release the King. No 
other alternative was before him, save, indeed, to slay 
Edward and proclaim his own son-in-law, Clarence, for 
King. But the memory of old days spent in Edward's 
cause was too strong. Clarence, too, though he may have 
been willing enough to supplant his brother, made no 
open proposals to extinguish him. 

Edward was over a month in his cousin's hands. 
Part of the time he was kept at Warwick and Coventry, 
but the last three weeks were spent in the Earl's northern 
stronghold of Middleham. The few accounts which we 
have of the time seem to show that the King was all 
smoothness and fair promises ; the Earl and the Arch- 
bishop, on the other hand, were careful to make his 
detention as little like captivity as could be managed. 
He was allowed free access to every one, and permitted 
to go hunting three or four miles away from the castle 
in company with a handful of the Earl's servants. War- 
wick at the same time gave earnest of his adherence to 
the Yorkist cause by putting down two Lancastrian 
risings, the one in favour of the Percies, led by Robin 
of Holderness, the other raised by his own second- 
cousin, Sir Humphrey Neville, one of the elder branch, 
who was taken and beheaded at York. 

Before releasing the King, Warwick exacted a few 
securities from him. The first was a general pardon to 
himself, Clarence, and all who had been engaged in the 
rising of Robin of Redesdale. The second was a grant 
to himself of the chamberlainship of South Wales, and 
the right to name the governors of Caermarthen and the 
other South Welsh castles. These offices had been in 
Herbert's hands, and the Earl had found that they 

192 WARWICK chap, xiv 

cramped his own power in Glamorganshire and the 
South Marches. The third was the appointment as 
Treasurer of Sir John Langstrother, the Prior of the 
Hospitallers of England ; he was evidently chosen as 
Rivers' successor, because two years before he had been 
elected to his place as prior in opposition to John Wood- 
ville, whom the King had endeavoured to foist on the 
order. The chancellorship, however, was still left in the 
hands of Bishop Stillington, against whom no one had a 
grudge ; George Neville did not claim his old prefer- 

By October the King was back in London, which he 
entered in great state, escorted by Montagu, the Arch- 
bishop, Richard of Gloucester, and the Earls of Essex 
and Arundel. "The King himself," writes one of the 
Pastons that day, "hath good language of my Lords of 
Clarence, Warwick, and York, saying they be his best 
friends ; but his household have other language, so that 
what shall hastily fall I can not say." No more, we may 
add, could any man in England, the King and Warwick 



The peace between Warwick and King Edward lasted 
for a period even shorter than might have been ex- 
pected ; seven months, from September 1469 to March 
1470, was the term for which it was destined to endure. 
Yet while it did hold firm, all was so smooth outwardly 
that its rupture came as a thunderclap upon the world. 
Nothing, indeed, could have looked more promising for 
lovers of quiet times than the events of the winter of 
1469-70. A Parliament ratified all the King's grants 
of immunity to the insurgents of the last year, and 
while it sat the King announced a project which pro- 
mised to bind York and Neville more firmly together 
than ever. Edward, though now married for six years, 
had no son ; three daughters alone were the issue of his 
union with Elizabeth Woodville. He now proposed to 
marry his eldest daughter, and heiress presumptive, to 
the male heir of the Nevilles, the child George, son of 
Montagu. 1 To make the boy's rank suitable to his 

1 This plan, as Lingard astutely observes, may have two mean- 
ings. Either, as we said above, it was a ratification of peace 
with the Nevilles, or — and this is quite possible — it was intended 
to draw Montagu apart from his brothers, by giving him a special 
interest in Edward's prosperity. 


194 WARWICK chap. 

prospects, Edward created him Duke of Bedford. 
Montagu had not joined with his brothers in the 
rising, and had even fought with Robin of Redesdale, so 
it was all the easier for the King to grant him this 
crowning honour. 

In February Warwick was at Warwick Castle, 
Montagu in the North, while Clarence and King Edward 
lay at London. All was quiet enough, when suddenly 
there came news of troubles in Lincolnshire. Riotous 
bands, headed by Sir Robert Welles, son of Lord 
Willoughby and Welles, had come together, sacked the 
manor of a certain Sir Thomas Burgh, one of Edward's 
most trusted servants, and were raising the usual sedi- 
tious cries about the evil government of the realm. At 
first nothing very dangerous seemed to be on foot. When 
the King sent for Willoughby, to call him to account 
for his son's doings, the old peer came readily 
enough to London to make his excuses, relying on 
the safe conduct which was sent him. But the riots 
were now swelling into a regular insurrection, and 
soon news came that Sir Robert Welles had called 
out the whole shire -force of Lincoln, mustered fif- 
teen thousand men, and was bidding his troops to 
shout for King Henry. Edward at once issued 
commissions of array for raising an overwhelming 
force against the rebels. Two of the commissions were 
sent to Warwick and Clarence, who were bidden to 
collect the men of Warwickshire and Worcestershire. 
Their orders were dated March 7th, but before they 
were half carried out, the purpose for which they were 
issued had already been attained. Edward, taking Lord 
Willoughby with him as a hostage, had rushed north 


with one of these astonishing bursts of energy of which 
he was now and again capable. Leaving London on 
the 6th, he reached Stamford on March 11th, with the 
forces of the home and eastern counties at his back. 
On the 12th he met the rebels at Empingham near 
Stamford, and when Welles would not bid them disperse, 
beheaded his aged father Willoughby in front of his 
army. The Lincolnshire men fled in disgraceful rout 
before the fire of the King's artillery, casting off their 
cassocks with the colours of Welles in such haste that the 
fight was known as Lose-coat Field. Sir Robert was 
caught and beheaded at Doncaster a few days later, and 
the rising was at an end. On Tuesday the 21st the 
King reviewed his troops : "It was said that never were 
seen in England so many goodly men, and so well 
arrayed for a fight ; in especial the Duke of Norfolk 
was worshipfully accompanied, no lord there so well." 
Warwick and Clarence, with a few thousand men from 
the shires they had been told to raise, lay that day at 
Chesterfield, converging, in accordance with their orders, 
on Lincoln. 

Suddenly Edward announced to his army that he 
had learnt from the dying confession of Sir Robert 
Welles that Warwick and Clarence were implicated in 
the rising. Though Welles had sometimes used King 
Henry's name, it was now said that he had really been 
proposing to place Clarence on the throne, and was 
acting with Warwick's full approval. Edward added 
that he had already sent to the Duke and the Earl, 
bidding them come to his presence at once and unaccom- 
panied. They had refused to come without a safe 
conduct, so he now proclaimed them traitors, but would 

196 WARWICK chap. 

grant them their lives if they would appear before him 
in humble and obeisant wise within a week. The army 
was at once directed to march on Chesterfield, but when 
the proclamation reached Warwick and Clarence they 
did not obey it, and fled for their lives. 

This series of events is the most puzzling portion of 
the whole of Warwick's life. The chroniclers help us 
very little, and the only two first-hand documents which 
we possess are official papers drawn up by King Edward. 
These papers were so widely spread that we meet them 
repeated word for word and paragraph for paragraph 
even in the French writers, — with the names, of course, 
horribly mangled. 1 Edward said that down to the very 
moment of Welles' capture he had no thought but that 
Warwick and Clarence were serving him faithfully : it 
was Welles' confession, and some treasonable papers found 
on the person of a squire in the Duke of Clarence's livery 
who was slain in the pursuit, that revealed the plot 
to him. The second document which the King published 
was Welles' confession, a rambling effusion which may 
or may not fully represent the whole story. Why Welles 
should confess at all we cannot see, unless he expected 
to save his life thereby ; and if he expected to save his 
life he would, of course, insert in his tale whatever 
names the King chose. Welles' narrative relates that all 
Lincolnshire was afraid that the King would visit it 
with vengeance for joining Robin of Redesdale last year. 
Excitement already prevailed, when there came to him, 
about February 2nd, Sir John Clare, a chaplain of the 
Duke of Clarence's, who asked him if Lincolnshire would 

1 E.g. Waurin makes Ranby Howe, the muster-place of the in- 
surgents, into Tabihorch, and Lancashire into Lantreghier. 


be ready to rise supposing there was another trouble 
this year, but bade him make no stir till the Duke 
should send him word. Without waiting, according to 
his own tale, for any further communication, Welles 
raised all Lincolnshire, making proclamation in the 
King's name as well as that of the Duke of Clarence. 
Some days after the riots began there came to him a 
squire in the Duke's livery, who told him. that he had 
provoked the King, and that great multitudes of the 
Commons must needs die unless they bestirred them- 
selves. So this squire — Welles could not give his sur- 
name but only knew that he was called W alter — took 
over the guiding of the host till he was slain at Stam- 
ford. Moreover, one John Wright came to Lincoln, bear- 
ing a ring as token, which he said belonged to the Earl 
of Warwick, with a message of comfort to say that the 
Earl had sworn to take such part as Lincolnshire should 
take. "And I understand that they intended to make 
great risings, and as far as ever I could understand, to 
the intent to make the Duke of Clarence King, and so 
it was largely noised in our host." According to his story, 
Welles had never seen either Warwick or Clarence 
himself, and had no definite knowledge of their purpose. 
He only understood that the purpose was to crown 
Clarence ; all his information came from Clare and the 
anonymous squire. 

This is a curious tale, and suggests many doubts. If 
Warwick wished to act again the comedy of last year, 
why should he send to a county where he had no influ- 
ence, to a staunch Lancastrian family (Welles' grand- 
father fell in Henry's cause at Towton, and his father 
was the Willoughby who tried to kidnap Warwick 

198 WARWICK chap. 

in 1460) in order to provoke a rising] And if he had 
planned a rising in Lincoln, why did he make no attempt 
to support it by calling out his own Midland and South 
Welsh retainers, or raising Yorkshire or Kent, where he 
could command the whole county 1 That the Earl was 
capable of treasonable double-dealing he had shown 
clearly enough in 1469. But was he capable of such 
insane bad management as the arrangements for Welles' 
insurrection show 1 Last year his own relatives and 
retainers worked the plan, and it was most accurately 
timed and most successfully executed. Why should he 
now make such a bungle 1 

It is, moreover, to be observed that while Welles 
puts everything down to Clarence in his confession, 
Warkworth and other chroniclers say that he bade his 
men shout for King Henry, and all his connections were 
certainly Lancastrian. Is it possible that he was trying 
to put the guilt off his own shoulders, and to make a 
bid for his life, acting on Edward's hints, when he 
implicated Warwick and Clarence in his guilt 1 

It is certainly quite in keeping with Edward's char- 
acter to suppose that, finding himself at the head of a 
loyal and victorious army, it suddenly occurred to him 
that his position could be utilised to fall on Warwick 
and Clarence and take his revenge for the deaths of 
Pembroke and Bivers. 

Whether this was so or not, the Duke and the Earl 
were most certainly caught unprepared when Edward 
marched on Chesterfield. They left a message that they 
would come to the King if he would give them a safe 
conduct, and fled to Manchester. Edward threw his 
army between them and York, where they could have 


raised men in abundance, and the fugitives, after vainly 
trying to interest Lord Stanley in their cause, doubled 
back on the Midlands. With a few hundred men in 
their train they got to Warwick, but apparently there 
was no time to make a stand even there. The King had 
sent commissions of array out all over England to trusty 
hands, and forces under staunch Yorkists were closing 
in towards the Midlands on every side. Edward calcu- 
lated on having an enormous army in the field by April; 
he himself was coming south with quite twenty thousand 
victorious troops, and he had called out the whole of 
the levies of Shropshire, Hereford, Gloucester, Stafford, 
Wiltshire, Devon, Dorset, and Somerset. When he heard 
that Warwick was moving south, he sent to Salisbury to 
order quarters and provisions for forty thousand men, 
who would be concentrated there if the Earl tried to 
reach the Montacute lands in that quarter. 

So unprepared was the Earl for the assault that, 
packing up his valuables in Warwick Castle, and taking 
with him his wife and his two daughters, he fled for the 
South Coast without waiting to be surrounded by his 
enemies. He quite outstripped the King, who had barely 
reached Salisbury when he himself was at Exeter. There 
the Duke and Earl seized a few ships, which they sent 
round to Dartmouth • more vessels were obtained in the 
latter place, for the whole seafaring population of Eng- 
land favoured the Earl. When Edward drew near, 
Warwick and his son-in-law went on board their hastily- 
extemporised fleet and put to sea. They ran along the 
South Coast as far as Southampton, where they made an 
attempt to seize a part of the royal navy, including the 
great ship called the Trinity, which had lain there since 


Scales' abortive expedition in 1469. But Scales and 
Howard occupied the town with a great Hampshire levy ; 
the Earl's attack failed, and three of his ships with their 
crews fell into the enemy's hands. Tiptoft Earl of 
Worcester, " the great butcher of England," tried the 
captured men, and a squire named Clapham and nineteen 
more were hung and then impaled by him. This atrocious 
punishment sent a shock of horror through England, 
and Tiptoft's name is still remembered rather for this 
abomination than for all the learning and accomplish- 
ments which made him Caxton's idol. 

Warwick made for Calais, where his friend Wenlock 
was in charge, expecting free admittance. But the King 
had sent Galliard de Duras and other officers across to 
watch the governor, and Wenlock, who was somewhat of 
a time-server, dared not show his heart. When Warwick 
appeared in the roads he refused him entry, and shot 
off some harmless cannon toward the ships. At the 
same time he sent the Earl a secret message that "he 
would give him a fair account of Calais upon the first 
opportunity, if he would betake himself to France and 
wait." While Warwick lay off Calais his daughter, 
Clarence's wife, was delivered of a son. Wenlock sent 
out for her use two flagons of wine, but would not give 
her a safe conduct to land — "a great severity for a 
servant to use towards his lord," remarks Commines. 

Repulsed from Calais, though we hear that the 
majority of the garrison and inhabitants wished to 
admit them, Warwick and Clarence turned back, and 
sought refuge in the harbour of Honfleur, where they 
trusted to get shelter from Louis of France. On 
their way between Calais and Honfleur they made 


prizes of several ships belonging to the Duke of Bur- 
gundy, because they understood that he was arming 
against them. Louis kept away from Warwick for a 
time ; but he sent his secretary, Du Plessis, to see him, 
and his admiral, the Bastard of Bourbon, gave the 
fugitives a hearty welcome. Louis was still at war with 
England, and still dreading a descent by King Edward 
on the French coast. He was delighted to learn that he 
could now turn Warwick, whose abilities he had learnt 
to respect, against his master — -anything that would 
breed trouble in England would keep his enemy occupied 
at home. The King's first orders to his officers were to 
allow Warwick to fit out his ships, give him a supply of 
money, and send him off to England as quickly as 
possible. But the narrow seas were too well watched. 
Charles the Bold, irritated at Warwick's capture of his 
merchantmen, had collected a great fleet of seventy sail, 
which swept the Channel and watched the mouth of 
the Seine. 

The enforced delay in Warwick's departure allowed 
time for a new idea to ripen in the French King's restless 
brain. Warwick had now broken hopelessly with King 
Edward ; they could never trust each other again. Why 
therefore should not the Earl reconcile himself to the 
cause of Lancaster 1 No sooner was the idea formed 
than Louis proceeded to send for Queen Margaret out 
of her refuge in the duchy of Bar, and to lay his plan 
before her and the Earl, when they all met at Angers 
in the middle of July. 

The scheme was at first sight revolting to both parties. 
There was so much blood and trouble between them 
that neither could stomach the proposal. If Margaret 


could bring herself to forget that Warwick had twice 
driven her out of England, and had led her husband in 
ignominy to the Tower, she could not pardon the man 
who, in his moment of wrath, had stigmatised herself as 
an adulteress and her son as a bastard. 1 Warwick, on 
the other hand, if he could forgive the plot against his 
own life which the Queen had hatched in 1459, could 
not bear to think of meeting the woman who had sent 
his gray -haired father to the scaffold in cold blood on the 
day after Wakefield. King Louis asked each party to 
forget their whole past careers, and sacrifice their dearest 
hatreds to the exigencies of the moment. 

If Warwick and Queen Margaret had been left to 
themselves, it is most improbable that they would 
ever have come to an agreement. But between them 
Louis went busily to and fro, for his unscrupulous mind 
was perfectly unable to conceive that passion or senti- 
ment could override an obvious political necessity. 
Gradually the two parties were brought to state their 
objections to the King's scheme, the first step towards 
the commencement of negotiations. Warwick was the 
first to yield ; the Queen took far longer to persuade. 
The Earl, she said, had been the cause of all the trouble 
that had come on herself, her husband, and her son. 
She could not pardon him. Moreover, his pardon would 
lose her more friends than he could bring to her. 
Warwick's answer was straightforward. He owned all 
the harm he had done to her and hers. But the offence, 
he said, had come first from her who had plotted evil 
against him which he had never deserved. What he 

1 Foreign writers record that Warwick used this language to 
the legate Coppini in 1460. 


had done had been done solely in his own defence. 
But now the new King had broken faith with him, and 
he was bound to him no longer. If Margaret would 
forgive him, he would be true to her henceforth ; and 
for that the King of France would be his surety. Louis 
gave his word, praying the Queen to pardon the Earl, 
to whom, he said, he was more beholden than to any 
other man living. 

The Queen so pressed, and urged beside by the coun- 
sellors of her father King Rene, agreed to pardon Warwick. 
Louis then broached the second point in his scheme. The 
new alliance, he urged, should be sealed by a marriage ; 
the Prince of Wales was now seventeen and the Lady 
Anne, Warwick's younger daughter, sixteen. What 
match could be fairer or more hopeful % 

But to this the Queen would not listen. She could 
find a better match for her son, she said ; and she showed 
them a letter lately come from Edward offering him the 
hand of the young Princess Elizabeth. 2 Louis, how- 
ever, was quietly persistent, and in the end the Queen 
yielded this point also. On August 4th she met Warwick 
in the Church of St. Mary at Angers, and there they 
were reconciled ; the Earl swearing on a fragment of 
the true cross that he would cleave to King Henry's 
quarrel, the Queen engaging to treat the Earl as her 

1 All this comes from the invaluable "Manner of the dealing of 
the Earl of Warwick at Angiers," printed in the Chnnidc of the 
White Hose. 

2 This is a not impossible tale. Edward, fearing Warwick's 
alliance to the Queen, might hope to separate them by offering 
Margaret's son the ultimate succession to the throne. For he 
himself having no male heir, the crown would go with his eldest 
daughter Elizabeth. 

204 WARWICK chap, 

true and faithful subject, and never to make him 
any reproach for deeds gone by. The Earl placed his 
daughter in the Queen's hands, saying that the marriage 
should take place only when he had won back England 
for King Henry, and then departed for the coast to make 
preparations for getting his fleet to sea. 

One person alone was much vexed at the success of 
Louis' scheme. The Duke of Clarence had no wish 
to see his father-in-law reconciled to the house of 
Lancaster, for he had been speculating on the notion 
that if Warwick drove out Edward he himself would 
become King. But wandering exiles must take their 
fortune as it comes, and Clarence had to be con- 
tented with Queen Margaret's promise that his name 
should be inserted in the succession after that of her 
son, when she and her husband came to their own again. 
The Prince was a healthy promising lad, and the prospect 
offered was hopelessly remote ; Clarence began to grow 
discontented, and to regret that he had ever placed 
himself under Warwick's guidance. At this juncture 
his brother sent him a message from England, through 
a lad}^ attending on the Duchess, praying him not to 
wreck the fortunes of his own family by adhering to the 
house of Lancaster, and bidding him remember the 
hereditary hatred that lay between them. Edward 
offered his brother a full pardon. Clarence replied by 
promising to come over to the King so soon as he and 
Warwick should reach England. Of all these negotia- 
tions Warwick suspected not a word. 

Edward was so overjoyed by his brother's engage- 
ment to wreck the Earl's invasion, that he laughed at 
Charles of Burgundy for squandering money in keeping 


a fleet at sea to intercept Warwick, and declared that 
what he most wished was to see his adversary safely 
landed on English soil, to be dealt with by himself. 

He had his wish soon enough. In September the 
equinoctial gales caught the Burgundian fleet and 
blew it to the four winds, some of the vessels being 
driven as far as Scotland and Denmark. This left the 
coast clear for Warwick, who had long been waiting to 
put to sea. The Earl had already taken his precautions 
to make his task easy. A proclamation, signed by himself 
and Clarence, had been scattered all over England by 
willing hands. It said that the exiles were returning 
" to set right and justice to their places, and to reduce and 
redeem for ever the realm from its thraldom;" but no 
mention was made either of Edward or Henry in it, a 
curious fact which seems to point out that the Lancastrian 
alliance was not to be avowed till the last moment. 
But more useful than many proclamations was the 
message which the Earl sent into the North Country ; 
he prayed his kinsman Fitzhugh to stir up Yorkshire 
and draw the King northward, as he had done before, 
when he and Coniers worked the rebellion of Robin of 

Fitzhugh had no difficulty in rousing the Neville 
tenants about Middleham ; and Edward, as Warwick 
expected, no sooner heard of this insurrection than he 
hurried to put it down, taking with him his brother 
Richard of Gloucester, Scales, Hastings, Say, and many 
more of his most trusted barons, with a good part of the 
army that was disposable to resist a landing on the 
South Coast. Near York he was to be met by Montagu, 
who had adhered to him for the past year in spite of 

206 WA R WICK chat. 

his brother's rebellion. Bat the King had paid 
Montagu badly for his loyalty. He had taken from 
him the Percy lands in Northumberland, and restored 
them to the young heir of that ancient house, compen- 
sating, as he thought, the dispossessed Neville by 
making him a marquis, and handing him over some of 
Warwick's confiscated northern estates. Montagu com- 
plained in secret that " he had been given a marquisate, 
and a pie's nest to maintain it withal," and was far 
from being so contented as the King supposed. 

On September 25th Warwick landed unopposed at 
Dartmouth. In his company was not only Clarence but 
several of the great Lancastrian lords who had been 
living in exile — Jasper of Pembroke, Oxford, and 
many more. They brought with them about two 
thousand men, of whom half were French archers lent 
by Louis. The moment that the invaders landed, 
Warwick and Clarence declared themselves, by putting 
forth a proclamation in favour of King Henry. Devon 
and Somerset had always been Lancastrian strong- 
holds, and the old retainers of the Beauforts and of 
Exeter came in by hundreds to meet their exiled lords. 
In a few days Warwick had ten thousand men, and 
could march on London • the King was at Doncaster, 
and his lieutenants in the South could make no stand 
without him. A little later Warwick's own Midland 
and Wiltshire tenants joined him, the Earl of Shrewsbury 
raised the Severn valley in his aid, and all Western 
England was in his hands. 

Meanwhile King Edward, who had up to this 
moment mismanaged his affairs most hopelessly, moved 
south by Doncaster and Lincoln, with Montagu and 


many other lords in his train. On October 6th he lay 
in a fortified manor near Nottingham with his body- 
guard, while his army occupied all the villages round 
about. There, early in the morning, while he still lay 
in bed, Alexander Carlisle, the chief of his minstrels, 
and Master Lee, his chaplain, came running into his 
chamber, to tell him there was treachery in his camp.' 
Montagu and other lords were riding down the ranks of 
his army crying, "God save King Henry!" The 
men were cheering and shouting for Warwick and 
Lancaster, and no one was showing any signs of striking 
a blow for the cause of York. 

Edward rose in haste, drew up his bodyguard to 
defend the approach of the manor where he lay, and 
sent scouts to know the truth of the report. They met 
Montagu marching against them, and fled back to say 
that the rumour was all too true. Then Edward with 
his brother Gloucester, Hastings his chamberlain, Say, 
and Scales, and their immediate following, took horse 
and fled. They reached Lynn about eight hundred 
strong, seized some merchantmen and two Dutch 
carvels which lay in the harbour, and set sail for the 
lands of Burgundy. Buffeted by storms and chased by 
Hanseatic pirates, they ran their ships ashore near 
Alkmaar, and sought refuge with Louis of Gruthuyse, 
Governor of Holland. King, lords, and archers alike 
had escaped with nothing but what they bore on their 
backs ; Edward himself could only pay the master of 
the ship that carried him by giving him the rich gown 
lined with martens' fur that he had worn in his flight. 



The expulsion of King Edward had been marvellously 
sudden. Within eleven days after his landing at Dart- 
mouth Warwick was master of all England. Not a blow 
had been struck for the exiled King. From Calais to 
Berwick every man mounted the Red Rose or the 
Ragged Staff with real or simulated manifestations of 
joy. On October 6th the Earl reached London, which 
opened its gates with its accustomed readiness. It had 
only delayed its surrender in fear of a riotous band of 
Kentishmen, whom Sir Geoffrey Gate had gathered in 
the Earl's name. They had wrought such mischief in 
Southwark that the Londoners refused to let them in, 
and waited for the arrival of Warwick himself before 
they would formally acknowledge King Henry. Mean- 
while all the partisans of York had either fled from the 
city or taken sanctuary. Queen Elizabeth sought 
refuge in the precincts of Westminster, where she was 
soon after delivered of a son, the first male child that 
had been born to King Edward. 

Riding through the city Warwick came to the Tower, 
and found King Henry in his keeper's hands, " not wor- 
shipfully arrayed as a prince, and not so cleanly kept as 


should beseem his state." The Earl led him forth from 
the fortress, — whither he had himself conducted him, a 
prisoner in bonds, five years before, — arrayed him in 
royal robes, and brought him in state to St. Paul's, the 
Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, with all the Common Council, 
walking before him, " while all the people to right and 
left rejoiced with clapping of hands, and cried ' God 
save King Henry ! ' " Then the King, after returning 
thanks for his deliverance in the Cathedral, rode down 
Cheapside and took up his residence in the palace of the 
Bishop of London. 

Henry was much broken and enfeebled by his cap- 
tivity. " He sat on his throne as limp and helpless as 
a sack of wool," says one unfriendly chronicler. " He 
was a mere shadow and pretence, and what was done in 
his name was done without his will and knowledge." 
All that remained unbroken in him was his piety and 
his imperturbable long-suffering patience. But his 
weakness only made him the more fit for Warwick's 
purpose. His deliverance took place on the 6th, and on 
October 9th we find him beginning to sign a long series 
of documents which reconstituted the government of the 
realm. It was made clear from the first that Warwick 
and his friends were to have charge of the King rather 
than the Lancastrian peers. In the first batch of 
appointments Warwick became the King's Lieutenant, 
and resumed his old posts of Captain of Calais and 
Admiral. George Neville was restored to the Chan- 
cellorship, and Sir John Langstrother, Prior of the 
Hospitallers, received again the Treasury, which 
Warwick had bestowed on him in 1469. The Duke of 
Clarence was made Lieutenant of Ireland, a post he had 


210 WARWICK chap. 

enjoyed under his brother till his exile in 1470. Among 
the Lancastrians, Oxford was made Constable, and 
Pembroke joint-Lieutenant under Warwick. The rest 
received back their confiscated lands, but got no official 

Oxford's first exercise of his power as Constable was 
to try Tiptoft Earl of Worcester, one of the few of 
King Edward's adherents whom no one could pardon. 
Oxford had to avenge on him his father and brother, 
whom the Earl had sentenced to be drawn and quar- 
tered in 1462, while Warwick remembered his adherents 
impaled in the previous April. The Butcher of Eng- 
land got no mercy, as might be expected, and was 
beheaded on October 18th. 

A few days before summonses had been sent out in 
the King's name for a Parliament to meet on November 
26th, for Warwick was eager to set himself right 
with the nation at the earliest opportunity. Every 
care was taken to show that the new rule was to be 
one of tolerance and amnesty. The whole of the sur- 
viving peers who had sat in Edward's last Parlia- 
ment were invited to present themselves to meet King 
Henry — however bitter their Yorkist partizanship had 
been — save six only, and of these four had fled over-sea 
— Gloucester, Scales, Hastings, and Say. 

The Parliament met and was greeted by George 
Neville the Chancellor with a sermon adapted to the 
times, on the text from Jeremiah, "Turn, O ye back- 
sliding children." The proceedings of the session 
are lost, but we know that they were mainly formal, 
confirming the King's appointments to offices, ratifying 
the agreement made between Queen Margaret and 


Clarence, that the latter should be declared heir to 
the throne failing issue to the Prince of Wales, and 
reversing the attainder of Somerset and Exeter and the 
other Lancastrian lords, who were thus able to take 
their seats in the Upper House. 

The most important political event of the restoration, 
however, was the conclusion of the treaty with France, 
which Warwick had had so close to his heart ever since 
the first abortive negotiations in 1464. An embassy, 
headed by the Bishop of Bayeux, titular Patriarch of 
Jerusalem, appeared in London when Warwick's power 
was firmly established, and a peace for twelve years and 
treaty of alliance was duly concluded. Its most im- 
portant feature was that it bound England to take the 
French King's side in the struggle with Burgundy. 
When he heard that Edward had been expelled and 
could no longer aid Charles the Bold, Louis had at once 
attacked the towns on the Somme, and taken Amiens 
and several other important places. Next spring his 
contest with the Duke would begin in earnest, and he 
was overjoyed to know that the English power would 
be used for his aid, by one who had a strong personal 
dislike to the Burgundian. Warwick at once took steps 
to strengthen the garrison of Calais, which was at this 
time entirely surrounded by the Duke's territory, and 
began to make preparations for a campaign in the next 

It is rather difficult to gauge with accuracy the feel- 
ing with which England received the restoration of King 
Henry. The nation, however, seems on the whole to 
have accepted the new government with great equanim- 
ity if with no very marked enthusiasm. The Lancas- 

212 WA R WICK CH A P. 

trians were of course contented, though they would 
have preferred to have won back their position by their 
own arms. Of the Yorkists it was supposed that most 
of the important sections held by the Earl and not 
by King Edward. This was certainly the case, as later 
events showed, with the Commons in most parts of the 
country, and notably in Yorkshire and Kent, which 
had up to this time been so strongly attached to the 
cause of York. There were, however, classes in which 
the restoration was not so well received. It was dis- 
liked by such of the Yorkist nobility as were not 
Nevilles. The Duke of Norfolk and all the Bourchier 
clan — Essex, the Archbishop, Cromwell, and Berners — 
had not been displeased when Warwick chastened the 
Queen's relatives, but had not wished to see Edward 
entirely deposed. Other peers, such as Grey Earl of 
Kent, and the Earl of Arundel, had committed them- 
selves even more deeply to Edward's side, by allying 
themselves by marriage with the Woodvilles. It was 
gall and bitterness to all those heads of great houses to 
have to seek for pardon and favour from their late 
enemies. What, for example, must have been Norfolk's 
feelings when he was compelled, as the Paston records 
describe, to sue as humbly to the Lancastrian Earl of 
Oxford as his own dej^endents had been Avont to sue to 
himself 1 

Another quarter where the restoration was taken ill 
was to be found among the merchants of London. The 
late King had been a great spender of money, and was 
at the moment of his exile deep in the books of many 
wealthy purveyors of the luxuries in which he delighted. 
All these debts had now become hopeless, and the 


unfortunate creditors were sulky and depressed. More- 
over, Edward's courteous and affable manners and 
comely person had won him favour in the eyes of the 
Londoners in whose midst he habitually dwelt, and 
still more so, unless tradition errs, in the eyes of their 
wives. Few persons in the city, except declared Lan- 
castrians, looked upon the new government with any 
approach to enthusiasm. 

There was one individual, too, whose feelings as to 
the new government were likely to be of no mean im- 
portance. George of Clarence, though he had followed 
Warwick to London and taken a prominent part in all 
the incidents of the restoration, was profoundly dissatis- 
fied with his position. Even when he had been made Lieu- 
tenant of Ireland — an office which he chose to discharge 
by deputy — and presented with many scores of manors, 
he was in no wise conciliated. He was farther from the 
throne as the Prince of Wales' ultimate heir than he had 
been in the days of his own brother's reign. Had the 
chance been given him, it seems likely that he would 
have betrayed Warwick and joined King Edward after 
his return to England. But events had marched too 
rapidly, and he had found no opportunity to strike a 
blow for York. During the winter of 1470-71, however, 
he put himself once more in communication with his 
brother. The correspondence was carried on through 
their sisters — the Duchess of Exeter on the English side 
of the Channel and the Duchess of Burgundy over-sea. 
By this means Clarence renewed his promises of help to 
Edward, and swore to join him, with every man that he 
could raise, the moment that he set foot again in Eng- 
land. Meanwhile Warwick had no suspicion of his son- 

2i 4 WARWICK chap. 

in-law's treachery. He trusted him to the uttermost, 
heaped favours upon him, and even got his name joined 
with his own and Pembroke's as Lieutenants for Kins* 
Henry in all the realm of England. 

For five months the Earl's reign was undisturbed. 
There was no one in the country who dared dispute his 
will. Queen Margaret, whose presence would have been 
his greatest difficulty, had not yet crossed the seas. Her 
delay was strange. Perhaps she still dreaded putting 
herself in the hands of her old enemy • perhaps the King 
of France detained her till Warwick should have made 
his power in England too firm to be troubled by her 
intrigues. But the Earl himself actually desired her 
presence. He several times invited her to hasten her 
arrival, and at last sent over Langstrother, the Trea- 
surer of England, to urge his suit and escort Margaret 
and her son across the Channel. It was not till March 
that she could be induced to move ; and by March the 
time was overdue. 

Meanwhile King Edward had received but a luke- 
warm reception at the Court of Burgundy. Duke 
Charles, saddled with his French war, would have pre- 
ferred to keep at peace with England. His sympathies 
were divided between Lancaster and York. If his wife 
was Edward's sister, he himself had Lancastrian blood in 
his veins, and had long maintained Somerset, Exeter, 
and other Lancastrian exiles at his Court. But he was 
driven into taking a decided line in favour of Edward by 
the fact that Warwick, his personal enemy, was supreme 
in the counsels of England. If the Earl allied himself 
to Louis of France, it became absolutely necessary for 
Duke Charles to lend his support to his exiled brother- 


in-law, with the object of upsetting Warwick's do- 

Edward himself had found again his ancient restless 
energy in the day of adversity. He knew that in the 
last autumn he could have made a good defence if it 
had not been for Montagu's sudden treachery, and was 
determined not to consider his cause lost till it had been 
fairly tried by the arbitrament of the sword. He was 
in full communication with England, and had learnt that 
many more beside Clarence were eager to see him land. 
The adventure would be perilous, for he would have to 
fight not only, as of old, the Lancastrian party, but the 
vast masses of the Commons whose trust had always 
been in the great Earl. But peril seems to have been 
rather an incentive than a deterrent to Edward, when 
the reckless mood was on him. He took the aid that 
Charles of Burgundy promised, though it was given in 
secret and with a grudging heart. After a final inter- 
view with the Duke at Aire, he moved off in February 
to Flushing, where a few ships had been collected for him 
in the haven among the marshes of Walcheren. About 
fifteen hundred English refugees accompanied him, in- 
cluding his brother of Gloucester and Lords Hastings, 
Say, and Scales. The Duke had hired for him three 
hundred German hand-gun men, and presented him with 
fifty thousand florins in gold. With such slender resources 
the exiled King did not scruple to attempt the reconquest 
of his kingdom. On March 11th he and his men set sail. 
They were convoyed across the German Ocean by a fleet 
of fourteen armed Hanseatic vessels, which the Duke 
had sent for their protection. Yet the moment that 
Charles heard they were safely departed, he published, 

216 WARWICK chap. 

for Warwick's benefit, a proclamation warning any of 
his subjects against aiding or abetting Edward of York 
in any enterprise against the realm of England. 

However secretly Edward's preparations were con- 
certed, they had not entirely escaped his enemy's 
notice. Warwick had made dispositions for resisting a 
landing to the best of his ability. A fleet stationed at 
Calais, under the Bastard of Fauconbridge, watched the 
straits and protected the Kentish coast. The Earl him- 
self lay at London to overawe the discontented and 
guard King Henry. Oxford held command in the 
Eastern Counties — the most dangerous district, for 
Norfolk and the Bourchiers were rightly suspected of 
keeping up communication with Edward. In the North 
Montagu and the Earl of Northumberland were in charge 
from Hull to Berwick with divided authority. 

As Warwick had expected, the invaders aimed at 
landing in East Ansdia. On March 12th Edward and 
his fleet lay off Cromer. He sent two knights ashore to 
rouse the country ere he himself set foot on land. But 
in a few hours the messengers returned. They bade him 
hoist sail again, for Oxford was keeping strict watch over 
all those parts, and Edward's friends were all in prison 
or bound over to good behaviour. On receiving this 
disappointing intelligence, Edward determined on one of 
those bold strokes which were so often his salvation. If 
the friendly districts were so well watched, it was likely 
that the counties where Warwick's interest was supreme 
would be less carefully secured. The King bade his 
pilot steer north and make for the Humber mouth, though 
Yorkshire was known to be devoted to the great Earl. 

That night a gale from the south swept over the 


Wash and scattered Edward's ships far and wide. On 
March 15th it abated, and the vessels came to land at 
various points on the coast of Holderness. The King 
and Hastings, with five hundred men, disembarked at 
Ravenspur — a good omen, for this was the same spot at 
which Henry of Bolingbroke had commenced his victori- 
ous march on London in 1399. The other ships landed 
their men at neighbouring points on the coast, and by 
the next morning all Edward's two thousand men were 
safely concentrated. Their reception by the country- 
side was most discouraging. The people deserted their 
villages and drew together in great bands, as if minded 
to oppose the invaders. Indeed, they only needed 
leaders to induce them to take the offensive ; but no 
man of mark chanced to be in Holderness. Montagu 
lay in the "West- Riding and Northumberland in the 
Xorth. A squire named Delamere, and a priest named 
Westerdale, the only leaders whom the men of Hol- 
derness could find, contented themselves with following 
the King at a distance, and with sending news of his 
approach to York. 

A less resolute adventurer than Edward Plantagenet 
would probably have taken to his ships again when he 
found neither help nor sympathy in Yorkshire. But 
Edward was resolved to play out his game ; the sight of 
the hostile country-side only made him determine to eke 
out the lion's hide with the fox's skin. Calling to mind 
the stratagem which Henry of Bolingbroke had practised 
in that same land seventy -two years ago, he sent 
messengers everywhere to announce that he came in 
arms not to dispossess King Henry, but only to claim 
his ancestral duchy of York. When he passed through 

218 WARWICK chap. 

towns and villages he bade his men shout for King 
Henry, and he himself mounted the Lancastrian badge 
of the ostrich feathers. In these borrowed plumes he 
came before the walls of York, still unmolested, but 
without having drawn a man to his banners. Hull, the 
largest town that he had approached, had resolutely 
closed its gates against him. 

The fate of Edward's enterprise was settled before 
the gates of York on the morning of March 18th. He 
found the walls manned by the citizens in arms ; but 
they parleyed instead of firing upon him, and when he 
declared that he came in peace, aspiring only to his 
father's dignity and possessions, he himself with 
sixteen persons only in his train was admitted within 
the gate. Then upon the cross of the high altar in the 
Minster he swore " that he never would again take upon 
himself to be King of England, nor would have done 
before that time, but for the exciting and stirring of the 
Earl of Warwick," "and thereto before all the people he 
cried, ' King Harry ! King Harry and Prince Edward ! " 
Satisfied by these protestations, the men of York ad- 
mitted the invaders within their walls. Edward, how- 
ever, only stayed for twelve hours in York, and next 
morning he marched on Tadcaster. 

This day was almost as critical as the last. It was 
five days since the landing at Ravenspur, and the news 
had now had time to spread. If Montagu and North- 
umberland were bent on loyal service to King Henry, 
they must now be close at hand. But the star of York 
was in the ascendant. Northumberland remembered at 
this moment rather his ancient enmity for the Nevilles 
than his grandfather's loyalty to Lancaster. He gathered 


troops indeed, but he made no attempt to march south 
or to intercept the invaders. It is probable that he was 
actually in treasonable communication with Edward, as 
the Lancastrian chroniclers declare. Montagu, on the 
other hand, collected two or three thousand men and 
threw himself into Pontefract, to guard the Great North 
Road. But Edward, instead of approaching Pontefract, 
moved his army on to cross-roads, which enabled him 
to perform a flank march round his adversary ; he 
slept that evening at Sendal Castle, the spot where his 
father had spent the night before the disastrous battle 
of Wakefield. How Montagu came to let Edward get 
past him is one of the problems whose explanation will 
never be forthcoming. It may have been that his scouts 
lost sight of the enemy and missed the line of his flank 
march. It may equally well have been that Montagu 
overvalued the King's army, which was really no larger 
than his own, and would not fight till he should be 
joined by his colleague Northumberland. Some con- 
temporary writers assert that the Marquis, remembering 
his old favour with the King, was loath that his hand 
should be the one to crush his former master. Others 
say that it was no scruple of ancient loyalty that moved 
Montagu, but that he had actually determined to desert 
his brother and join Edward's party. But his later 
behaviour renders this most unlikely. 

Montagu's fatal inaction was the salvation of Edward. 
At Sendal he received the first encouragement which he 
had met since his landing. He was there in the midst 
of the estates of the duchy of York, and a considerable 
body of men joined him from among his ancestral 
retainers. Encouraged by this accession, he pushed on 


rapidly southward, and by marches of some twenty miles 
a day reached Doncaster on the 21st and Nottingham 
on the 23rd. On the way recruits began to flock in, 
and at Nottingham a compact body of six hundred men- 
at-arms, under Sir James Harrington and Sir William 
Parr, swelled the Yorkist ranks. Then Edward, for the 
first time since his landing, paused for a moment to take 
stock of the position of his friends and his enemies. 

Meanwhile the news of his march had run like wild- 
fire all over England, and in every quarter men were 
arming for his aid or his destruction. Warwick had 
hoped at first that Montagu and Northumberland would 
stay the invader, but when he heard that Edward had 
slipped past, he saw that he himself must take the field. 
Accordingly he left London on the 22nd, and rode hastily 
to Warwick to call out his Midland retainers. The 
guard of the city and the person of King Henry was left 
to his brother the Archbishop. Simultaneously Somerset 
departed to levy troops in the South-West, and Clarence 
set forth to raise Gloucestershire and Wiltshire. Oxford 
had already taken the field, and on the 22nd lay at Lynn 
with four thousand men, the force that the not very 
numerous Lancastrians of Norfolk, Suffolk, and Cam- 
bridge could put in arms. From thence he directed his 
march on Newark, hoping to fall on Edward's flank 
somewhere near Nottingham. 

At that very moment the invader had thrown off the 
mask he had hitherto worn. Finding himself well 
received and strongly reinforced, he laid aside his pre- 
tence of asking only for the duchy of York, and had 
himself proclaimed as King. But his position was 
perilous still : Warwick was gathering head in his front ; 


Montagu was following cautiously in his rear ; Oxford 
was about to assail his flank. The enemies must be 
kept apart at all hazards ; so Edward, neglecting the 
others for the moment, turned fiercely on Oxford. He 
marched rapidly on Newark with some five or six 
thousand men. This decision and show of force fright- 
ened the Earl, who, though joined by the Duke of 
Exeter and Lord Bardolph, felt himself too weak to 
fight. When the vanguard of the Yorkists appeared, he 
hastily left Newark and fell back on to Stamford in 
much disorder. 

Having thus cleared his flank, Edward turned back 
on Nottingham and then made for Leicester. Here he 
was joined by the Yorkists of the East Midlands in great 
numbers ; of the retainers of Lord Hastings alone no 
less than three thousand came to him in one body. 

Warwick, who lay only two short marches from the 
invader, was straining every nerve to get together an 
army. His missives ran east and west to call in all the 
knights of the Midlands who had ever mounted the 
Ragged Staff or the Red Rose. One of these letters was 
found in 1889, among other treasures, in the lumber 
room of Belvoir Castle. It was addressed to Henry 
Vernon, a great Derbyshire landholder. The first part, 
written in a secretary's hand, runs as follows : 

Right Trusty and Wellbeloved — I grete you well, and 
desire and heartily pray you that, inasmuch as yonder man 
Edward, the King our soverain lord's great enemy, rebel, and 
traitor, is now arrived in the north parts of this land, and 
coming fast on south, accompanied with Flemings, Easter- 
lings, and Danes, not exceeding the number of two thousand 
persons, nor the country as he cometh not falling to him, ye 
will therefore, incontinent and forthwith after the sight hereof, 


dispose you to make toward me to Coventry with as many 
people defensibly arranged as ye can readily make, and that 
ye be with me in all haste possible, as my veray singular heart 
is in you, and as I may do thing [sic] to your weal or worship 
hereafter. And may God keep you. — Written at Warwick 
on March 25 th." 

Then in the Earl's own hand was written the post- 
script, appealing to Vernon's personal friendship : 
" Henry, I pray you ffayle me not now, as ever I may 
do for you." 

Sad to say, this urgent appeal, wellnigh the only 
autograph of the great Earl that we possess, seems to 
have failed in its purpose. Vernon preferred to watch 
the game, and as late as April 2nd had made no pre- 
paration to take arms for either side. 

On March 28th Warwick with six thousand men 
advanced to Coventry, a strongly-fortified town facing 
Edward's line of advance. On the same day his adver- 
sary, whose forces must now have amounted to nearly 
ten thousand, marched southward from Leicester. Next 
morning Warwick and the King were in sight of each 
other, and a battle was expected. But the Earl was 
determined to wait for his reinforcements before fight- 
ing. He calculated that Montagu must soon arrive from 
the north, Oxford from the east, Clarence from the 
south-west. Accordingly he shut himself up in Coventry, 
and refused to risk an engagement. Edward, whose 
movements all through this campaign evince the most 
consummate generalship, promptly marched past his 
enemy and seized Warwick, where he made his head- 
quarters. He then placed his army across the high road 
from Coventry to London, cutting off the Earl's direct 


communication with the capital, and waited. Like the 
Earl he was expecting his reinforcements. 

The first force that drew near was Clarence's levy 
from the south-west. With seven thousand men in his 
ranks the Duke reached Burford on April 2nd. Next 
day he marched for Banbury. On the 4th Warwick 
received the hideous news that his son-in-law had 
mounted the White Kose and joined King Edward. The 
treason had been long meditated, and was carried out 
with perfect deliberation and great success. A few miles 
beyond Banbury Clarence's array found itself facing that 
of the Yorkists. Clarence bade his men shout for King 
Edward, and fall into the ranks of the army that confronted 
them. Betrayed by their leader, the men made no 
resistance, and allowed themselves to be enrolled in the 
Yorkist army. 

Clarence, for very shame w 7 e must suppose, offered to 
obtain terms for his father-in-law. " He sent to Coventry," 
says a Yorkist chronicler, " offering certain good and 
profitable conditions to the Earl, if he would accept 
them. But the Earl, whether he despaired of any dur- 
able continuance of good accord betwixt the King and 
himself, or else willing to maintain the great oaths, 
pacts, and promises sworn to Queen Margaret, or else 
because he thought he should still have the upperhand 
of the King, or else led by certain persons with him, as 
the Earl of Oxford, who bore great malice against the 
King, would not suffer any manner of appointment, were 
it reasonable or unreasonable." He drove Clarence's 
messengers away, " crying that he thanked God he was 
himself and not that traitor Duke." 

Although Oxford had joined him with four thousand 

224 WARWICK chap. 

men, and Montagu was approaching, Warwick still felt 
himself not strong enough to accept battle when Edward 
and Clarence drew out their army before the gates of 
Coventry on the morning of April 5th. He then saw 
them fall into column of march, and retire along the 
London road. Edward, having now some eighteen 
thousand men at his back, thought himself strong enough 
to strike at the capital, where his friends had been 
busily astir in his behalf for the last fortnight. Leaving 
a strong rear -guard behind, with orders to detain 
Warwick at all hazards, he hurried his main body along 
the Watling Street, and in five days covered the seventy- 
five miles which separated him from London. 

Meanwhile Warwick had been joined by Montagu as 
well as by Oxford, and also received news that Somer- 
set, with seven or eight thousand men more, was only 
fifty miles away. This put him in good spirits, for he 
counted on London holding out for a few days, and on 
the men of Kent rallying to his standard when he 
approached the Thames. He wrote in haste to his 
brother the Archbishop, who was guarding King Henry, 
that if he would maintain the city but forty-eight hours, 
they would crush the invading army between them. 
Then he left Coventry and hurried after the King, who 
for the next five days was always twenty miles in front 
of him. 

But all was confusion in London. The Archbishop 
was not a man of war, and no soldier of repute was at 
his side. The Lancastrian party in the city had never 
been strong, and the Yorkists were now organising an 
insurrection. There were more than two thousand of 
them in the sanctuaries at Westminster and elsewhere, 


of whom three hundred were knights and squires. All 
were prepared to rise at the first signal. When news 
came that Edward had reached St. Albans, the Arch- 
bishop mounted King Henry on horseback and rode with 
him about London, adjuring the citizens to be true to 
him and arm in the good cause. But the sight of the 
frail shadow of a king, with bowed back and lack-lustre 
eyes, passing before them, was not likely to stir the 
people to enthusiasm. Only six or seven hundred armed 
men mustered in St. Paul's Churchyard beneath the 
royal banner. 1 

Such a force was obviously unequal to defending a 
disaffected city. Next day, when the army of Edward 
appeared before the walls, Urswick the Eecorder of 
London, and certain aldermen with him, dismissed the 
guard at Aldersgate and let Edward in, no man with- 
standing them. The Archbishop of York and King 
Henry took refuge in the Bishop of London's palace ; 
they were seized and sent to the Tower. George Neville 
obtained his pardon so easily that many accused him of 
treason. It seems quite possible that, when he found at 
the last moment that he could not raise the Londoners, 
he sent secretly to Edward and asked for pardon, pro- 
mising to make no resistance. 

The capture of London rendered King Edward's 
position comparatively secure. He had now the base of 
operations which he had up to this moment lacked, and 
had established himself in the midst of a population 

1 The Arrival of King Edward says "only six or seven thou- 
sand " in the printed text. This must be a scribe's blunder, being 
not a small number but a large one ; and Waurin, who copies the 
Arrival verbatim, has " 600 or 700." 


226 WARWICK chap. 

favourable to the Yorkist cause. Next day he received 
a great accession of strength. Bourchier Earl of Essex, 
his brother Archbishop Bourchier, Lord Berners, and 
many other consistent partisans of York, joined him 
with seven thousand men levied in the Eastern Counties. 
His army was now so strong that he might face an}' 
force which Warwick could bring up, unless the Earl 
should wait for the levies of the extreme North and West 
to join him. 

On Maundy Thursday London had fallen ; on Good 
Friday the King lay in London ; on Saturday afternoon 
he moved out again with his army greatly strengthened 
and refreshed, and marched north to meet the pursuing 
enemy. Warwick, much retarded on his way by the 
rear-guard which the King had left to detain him and 
by the necessity of waiting for Somerset's force, had 
reached Dunstable on the Friday, only to learn in the 
evening that London was lost and his brother and King 
Henry captured. He pushed on, however, and swerv- 
ing from the Watling Street at St. Albans threw him- 
self eastward, with the intention, we cannot doubt, of 
cutting Edward's communication with the Eastern Mid- 
lands, where York was strong, by placing himself across 
the line of the Ermine Street. On Saturday evening his 
army encamped on a rising ground near Monken Hadley 
Church, overlooking the little town of Barnet which lay 
below him in the hollow. The whole force lay down in 
order of battle, ranged behind a line of hedges ; in front 
of them was the heathy plateau, four hundred feet above 
the sea, which slopes down into the plain of Middlesex. 

An hour or two after Warwick's footsore troops had 
taken post for the night, and long after the dusk had 


fallen, the alarm was raised that the Yorkists were at 
hand. On hearing of the Earl's approach the King had 
marched out of London with every man that he could 
raise. His vanguard beat Warwick's scouts out of the 
town of Barnet, and chased them back on to the main 
position. Having found the enemy, Edward pushed on 
through Barnet, climbed the slope, and ranged his men 
in the dark facing the hedges behind which the Earl's 
army lay, 

much nearer than he had supposed, for he took not his 
ground so even in the front as he should have done, if he 
might better have seen them. And there they kept them 
still without any manner of noise or language. Both sides 
had guns and ordinance, but the Earl, meaning to have 
greatly annoyed the King, shot guns almost all the night. 
But it fortuned that they always overshot the King's host, 
and hurt them little or nought, for the King lay much nearer 
to them than they deemed. But the King suffered no guns 
to be shot on his side, or else right few, which was of great 
advantage to him, for thereby the Earl should have found 
the ground that he lay in, and levelled guns thereat. 

So, with the cannon booming all night above them, 
the two hosts lay down in their armour to spend that 
miserable Easter even. Next day it was obvious that a 
decisive battle must occur ; for the King, whose interest 
it was to fight at once, before Warwick could draw in his 
reinforcements from Kent and from the North and West, 
had placed himself so close to the Earl that there was 
no possibility of the Lancastrian host withdrawing with- 
out being observed. The morrow would settle, once for 
all, if the name of Eichard Neville or that of Edward 
Plantagenet was to be all-powerful in England. 



The Easter morning dawned dim and gray ; a dense fog 
had rolled up from the valley, and the two hosts could 
see no more of each other than on the previous night. 
Only the dull sound of unseen multitudes told each that 
the other was still before them in position. 

Of the two armies each, so far as we can judge, must 
have numbered some twenty-live thousand men. It is 
impossible in the conflict of evidence to say which was 
the stronger, but there cannot have been any great 
difference in force. 1 Each had drawn itself up in the 
normal order of a medieval army, with a central 

' The Yorkist author of the Arrival of King Edward says that 
his patron had only nine thousand men. But we can account for 
many more. Edward landed with two thousand ; at least six 
hundred joined at Nottingham, at least three thousand at Leicester ; 
Clarence brought seven thousand, Essex and the other Bourchiers 
seven thousand more. This makes nineteen thousand six hundred, 
and many more must have joined in small parties. On the other 
side "Warwick had at Coventry six thousand men ; Oxford met him 
with four thousand, Montagu with three thousand, Somerset with 
seven thousand, and he too must have drawn in many small, unre- 
corded reinforcements. The Yorkists called his army thirty 
thousand strong — probably overstating it by a few thousands. 
Their own must have been much the same. 

chap, xvn WARWICK'S ARMY 229 

main-battle, the van and rear ranged to its right 
and left, and a small reserve held back behind the centre. 
Both sides, too, had dismounted nearly every man, 
according to the universal practice of the English in the 
fifteenth century. Even Warwick himself, — whose wont 
it had been to lead his first line to the charge, and then 
to mount and place himself at the head of the reserve, 
ready to deliver the final blow, — on this one occasion sent 
his horse to the rear and fought on foot all day. He 
wished to show his men that this was no common battle, 
but that he was risking life as well as lands and name 
and power in their company. 

In the Earl's army Montagu and Oxford, with their 
men from the North and East, held the right wing ; 
Somerset with his West-Country archery and billmen 
formed the centre ; Warwick himself with his own 
Midland retainers had the left wing ; with him was his 
old enemy Exeter, — his unwilling partner in the famous 
procession of 1457, his adversary at sea in the spring of 
1460. Here and all down the line the old Lancastrians 
and the partisans of Warwick were intermixed ; the 
Cresset of the Hollands stood hard by the Ragged 
Staff; the Dun Bull of Montagu and the Radiant Star 
of the De Veres were side by side. We cannot doubt 
that many a look was cast askance at new friends who 
had so long been old foes, and that the suspicion of 
possible treachery must have been present in every 

Edward's army was drawn up in a similar order. 
Richard of Gloucester commanded the right wing ; he 
was but eighteen, but his brother had already learnt to 
trust much to his zeal and energy. The King himself 

230 WARWICK chap. 

headed Clarence's men in the centre ; he was determined 
to keep his shifty brother at his side, lest he might re- 
pent at the eleventh hour of his treachery to his father- 
in-law. Hastings led the rear-battle on the left. 

The armies were too close to each other to allow of 
manoeuvring ; the men rose from the muddy ground on 
which they had lain all night, and dressed their line 
where they stood. But the night had led King Edward 
astray ; he had drawn up his host so as to overlap the 
Earl's extreme left, while he opposed nothing to his ex- 
treme right. Gloucester in the one army and Montagu 
and Oxford in the other had each the power of out- 
flanking and turning the wing opposed to them. The 
first glimpse of sunlight would have revealed these facts to 
both armies had the day been fair ; but in the dense fog 
neither party had perceived as yet its advantage or its 
danger. It was not till the lines met that they made 
out each other's strength and position. 

Between four and five o'clock, in the first gray of the 
dawning, the two hosts felt their way towards each other; 
each side could at last descry the long line of bills and 
bows opposed to it, stretching right and left till it was 
lost in the mist. For a time the archers and the bom- 
bards of the two parties played their part ; then the two 
lines rolled closer, and met from end to end all along 
Gladsmore Heath. The first shock was more favourable 
to Warwick than to the King. At the east end of the 
line, indeed, the Earl himself was outflanked by Gloucester, 
forced to throw back his wing, and compelled to yield 
ground towards his centre. But at the other end of the 
line the Yorkists suffered a far worse disaster ; Montagu 
and Oxford not only turned Hastings' flank, but rolled 


up his line, broke it, and chased it right over the heath, 
and down toward Barnet town. Many of the routed 
troops fled as far as London ere they stopped, spreading 
everywhere the news that the King was slain and the 
cause of York undone. But the defeat of Edward's left 
wing had not all the effect that might have been ex- 
pected. Owing to the fog it was unnoticed by the 
victorious right, and even by the centre, where the King 
and Clarence were now hard at work with Somerset, 
and gaining rather than losing ground. No panic spread 
down the line "for no man was in anything discouraged, 
because, saving a few that stood nearest to them, no man 
wist of the rout : also the other party by the same flight 
and chase were never the greatlier encouraged." More- 
over, the victorious troops threw away their chance ; 
instead of turning to aid his hard-pressed comrades, 
Oxford pursued recklessly, cutting down the flying 
enemy for a mile, even into the streets of Barnet. Con- 
sequently he and his men lost themselves in the fog ; 
many were scattered ; the rest collected themselves 
slowly, and felt their way back towards the field, guid- 
ing themselves by the din that sounded down from the 
hillside. Montagu appears not to have gone so far in 
pursuit ; he must have retained part of his wing with 
him, and would seem to have used it to strengthen his 
brother's hard-pressed troops on the left. 

But meanwhile King Edward himself was gaining 
ground in the centre ; his own column, as the Yorkist 
chronicler delights to record, " beat and bare down all 
that stood in his way, and then turned to range, first on 
that hand and then on the other hand, and in length so 
beat and bare them down that nothing might stand in 

232 WARWICK chap. 

the sight of him and of the well-assured fellowship that 
attended truly upon him." Somerset, in short, was 
giving way ; in a short time the Lancastrian centre 
would be broken. 

At this moment, an hour after the fight had begun, 
Oxford and his victorious followers came once more upon 
the scene. Lost in the fog, they appeared, not where 
they might have been expected, on Edward's rear, but 
upon the left rear of their own centre. They must have 
made a vast detour in the darkness. 

Now came the fatal moment of the day. Oxford's 
men, whose banners and armour bore the Radiant Star of 
the De Veres, were mistaken by their comrades for a 
flanking column of Yorkists. In the mist their badge 
had been taken for the Sun with Rays, which was King 
Edward's cognisance. When they came close to their 
friends they received a sharp volley of arrows, and were 
attacked b} r Warwick's last reserves. This mistake had 
the most cruel results. The old and the new Lancastrians 
had 'not been without suspicions of each other. Assailed 
by his own friends, Oxford thought that some one — like 
Grey de Ruthyn at Northampton — had betrayed the 
cause. Raising the cry of treason, he and all his men 
fled northward from the field. 1 

The fatal cry ran down the labouring lines of War- 
wick's army and wrecked the whole array. The old Lan- 
castrians made up their minds that Warwick — or at least 
his brother the Marquis, King Edward's ancient favourite 

1 Compare this with an incident at Waterloo. Ziethen's Prussian 
corps, coming upon the field to the left rear of the English line, 
took the brigade of the Prince of Saxe-Weimar for French owing 
to a similarity in uniform, attacked them, and slew many ere the 
mistake was discovered. 


— must have followed the example of the perjured 
Clarence. Many turned their arms against the Nevilles, 1 
and the unfortunate Montagu was slain by his own allies 
in the midst of the battle. Many more fled without 
striking another blow ; among these was Somerset, who 
had up to this moment fought manfully against King 
Edward in the centre. 

Warwick's wing still held its ground, but at last the 
Earl saw that all was lost. His brother was slain ; Exeter 
had been struck down at his side ; Somerset and Oxford 
were in flight. He began to draw back toward the line 
of thickets and hedges which had lain behind his army. 
But there the fate met him that had befallen so many of 
his enemies, at St. Albans and Northampton, at Towton 
and Hexham. His heavy armour made rapid flight 
impossible ; and in the edge of Wrotham Wood he was 
surrounded by the pursuing enemy, wounded, beaten 
down, and slain. 

The plunderers stripped the fallen; but King Edward's 

first desire was to know if the Earl was dead. The field 

was carefully searched, and the corpses of Warwick 

and Montagu were soon found. Both were carried to 

London, where they were laid on the pavement of St. 

Paul's, stripped to the breast, and exposed three days to 

the public gaze, "to the intent that the people should 

not be abused by feigned tales, else the rumour 

should have been sowed about that the Earl was yet 


1 There seems no valid reason for accepting Warkworth's 
theory that Montagu was actually deserting to King Edward. But 
there is every sign that the Lancastrians imagined that he was 
doing so. If he had wished to hetray his brother, he could have 
done it much better at an earlier hour in the battle. 

234 WARWICK chap. 

After lying three days on the stones, the bodies were 
given over to George Neville the Archbishop, who had 
them both borne to Bisham, and buried in the abbey, 
hard by the tombs of their father Salisbury and their 
ancestors the Earls of the house of Montacute. All 
alike were swept away, together with the roof that 
covered them, by the Vandalism of the Edwardian 
reformers, and not a trace remains of the sepulchre of 
the two unquiet brothers. 

Thus ended Richard Neville in the forty-fourth j^ear 
of his age, slain by the sword in the sixteenth }^ear since 
he had first taken it up at the Battle of St. Albans. 
Fortune, who had so often been his friend, had at last 
deserted him ; for no reasonable prevision could have 
foreseen the series of chances which ended in the disaster 
of Barnet. Montagu's irresolution and Clarence's 
treachery were not the only things that had worked 
against him. If the winds had not been adverse, Queen 
Margaret, who had been lying on the Norman coast since 
the first week in March, would have been in London long 
before Edward arrived, and could have secured the city 
with the three thousand men under Wenlock, Langstrother, 
and John Beaufort whom her fleet carried. But for 
five weeks the wind blew from the north and made the 
voyage impossible ; on Good Friday only did it turn and 
allow the Queen to sail. It chanced that the first ship, 
which came to land in Portsmouth harbour the very 
morning of Barnet, carried among others the Countess of 
Warwick ; at the same moment that she was setting her 
foot on shore her husband was striking his last blows on 
Gladsmore Heath. Nor was it only from France that 
aid was coming ; there were reinforcements gathering in 


the North, and the Kentishmen were only waiting for a 
leader. Within a few days after Warwick's death the 
Bastard of Fauconbridge had mustered seventeen thou- 
sand men at Canterbury in King Henry's name. If 
Warwick could have avoided fighting, he might have 
doubled his army in a week, and offered the Yorkists 
battle under far more favourable conditions. The wrecks 
of the party were strong enough to face the enemy on 
almost equal terms at Tewkesbury, even when their head 
was gone. The stroke of military genius which made 
King Edward compel the Earl to fight, by placing his 
army so close that no retreat was possible from the 
position of Barnet, was the proximate cause of Warwick's 
ruin ; but in all the rest of the campaign it was fortune 
rather than skill which fought against the Earl. His 
adversary played his dangerous game with courage and 
success ; but if only ordinary luck had ruled, Edward 
must have failed ; the odds against him were too many. 
But fortune interposed and Warwick fell. For 
England's sake perhaps it was well that it should be 
so. If he had succeeded, and Edward had been 
driven once more from the land, we may be sure 
that the Wars of the Roses would have dragged on 
for many another year; the house of York had too 
many heirs and too many followers to allow of its 
dispossession without a long time of further trouble. 
The cause of Lancaster, on the other hand, was bound up 
in a single life ; when Prince Edward fell in the Bloody 
Meadow, as he fled from the field of Tewkesbury, the 
struggle was ended perforce, for no one survived to claim 
his rights. Henry of Richmond, whom an unexpected 
chance ultimately placed on the throne, was neither in 

236 WARWICK chap. 

law nor in fact the real heir of the house of Lancaster. 
On the other hand, War wick's success would have led, 
so far as we can judge, first to a continuance of civil 
war, then, if he had ultimately been successful in rooting 
out the Yorkists, to a protracted political struggle 
between the house of Neville and the old Lancastrian 
party headed by the Beauforts and probably aided by 
the Queen ; for it is doubtful how far the marriage of 
Prince Edward and Anne Neville would ever have served 
to reconcile two such enemies as the Earl and Margaret of 
Anjou. If Warwick had held his own, and his abilities 
and his popularity combined to make it likely, his victory 
would have meant the domination of a family group — a 
form of government which no nation has endured for 
long. At the best, the history of the last thirty years of 
the fifteenth century in England would have been a tale 
resembling that of the days when the house of Douglas 
struggled with the crown of Scotland, or the Guises with 
the rulers of France. 

Yet for Warwick as a ruler there would have been 
much to be said. To a king of the type of Henry the 
Sixth the Earl would have made a perfect minister and 
vicegerent, if only he could have been placed in the 
position without a preliminary course of bloodshed and 
civil war. The misfortune for England was that his 
lot was cast not with Henry the Sixth, but with strong- 
willed, hot-headed, selfish Edward the Fourth. 

The two prominent features in Warwick's character 
which made him a leader of men, were not those which 
might have been expected in a man born and reared in 
his position. The first was an inordinate love of the 
activity of business ; the second was a courtesy and afta- 

xvii HIS AMBITION 237 

bility which made him the friend of all men save the one 
class he could not brook — the "made lords," the parvenu 
nobility which Edward the Fourth delighted to foster. 

Of these characteristics it is impossible to exaggerate 
the strength of the first. Warwick's ambition took the 
shape of a devouring love of work of all kinds. Prom- 
inent though he was as a soldier, his activity in war was 
only one side of his passionate desire to manage well and 
thoroughly everything that came to his hand. He never 
could cease for a moment to be busy ; from the first 
moment when he entered into official harness in 1455 
down to the day of his death, he seems hardly to have 
rested for a moment. The energy of his soul took him 
into every employment — general, admiral, governor, 
judge, councillor, ambassador, as the exigencies of the 
moment demanded ; he was always moving, always 
busy, and never at leisure. When the details of his life 
are studied, the most striking point is to find how seldom 
he was at home, how constantly away at public service. 
His castles and manors saw comparatively little of him. 
It was not at Warwick or Amesbury, at Caerphilly or 
Middleham that he was habitually to be found, but in 
London, or Calais, or York, or on the Scotch Border. 
It was not that he neglected his vassals and retainers — 
the loyalty with which they rallied to him on every 
occasion is sufficient evidence to the contrary — but he 
preferred to be a great minister and official, not merely 
a great baron and feudal chief. 

In this sense, then, it is most deceptive to call War- 
wick the Last of the Barons. Vast though his strength 
might be as the greatest landholder in England, it was as 
a statesman and administrator that he left his mark on 

238 WARWICK chap. 

the age. He should be thought of as the forerunner of 
Wolsey rather than as the successor of Robert of 
Belesme, or the Bohuns and Bigods. That the world 
remembers him as a turbulent noble is a misfortune. 
Such a view is only drawn from a hasty survey of the 
last three or four years of his life, when under desperate 
provocation he was driven to use for personal ends the 
vast feudal power that lay ready to his hand. If he 
had died in 1468, he would be remembered in history as 
an able soldier and statesman, who with singular perse- 
verance and consistency devoted his life to consolidating 
England under the house of York. 

After his restless activity, Warwick's most prominent 
characteristic was his geniality. No statesman was ever 
so consistently popular with the mass of the nation, 
through all the alternations of good and evil fortune. 
This popularity the Earl owed to his unswerving courtesy 
and affability ; " he ever had the good voice of the people, 
because he gave them fair words, showing himself easy 
and familiar," says the chronicler. Wherever he was 
well known he was well liked. His own Yorkshire and 
Midland vassals, who knew him as their feudal lord, 
the seamen who had served under him as admiral, the 
Kentishmen who saw so much of him while he was cap- 
tain of Calais, were all his unswerving followers down to 
the day of his death. The Earl's boundless generosity, the 
open house which he kept for all who had any claim on 
him, the zeal with which he pushed the fortunes of his 
dependents, will only partially explain his popularity. 
As much must be ascribed to his genial personality as to 
the trouble which he took to court the people. His 
whole career was possible because the majority of the 


nation not only trusted and respected but honestly 
liked him. This it was which explains the " king- 
making " of his later years. Men grew so accustomed to 
follow his lead that they would even acquiesce when he 
transferred his allegiance from King Edward to King 
Henry. It was not because he was the greatest land- 
holder of England that he was able to dispose of the 
crown at his good will ; but because, after fifteen years of 
public life, he had so commended himself to the majority 
of the nation that they were ready to follow his guidance 
even when he broke with all his earlier associations. 

But Warwick was something more than active, genial, 
and popular ; nothing less than first-rate abilities would 
have sufficed to carry him through his career. On the 
whole, it was as a statesman that he was most fitted to 
shine. His power of managing men was extraordinary ; 
even King Louis of France, the hardest and most un- 
emotional of men, seems to have been amenable to his 
influence. He was as successful with men in the 
mass as with individuals ; he could sway a parliament or 
an army with equal ease to his will. How far he sur- 
passed the majority of his contemporaries in political 
prescience is shown by the fact that, in spite of Yorkist 
traditions, he saw clearly that England must give up 
her ancient claims on France, and continually worked to 
reconcile the two countries. 

In war Warwick was a commander of ability ; good 
for all ordinary emergencies where courage and a 
cool head would carry him through, but not attaining 
the heights of military genius displayed by his pupil 
Edward. His battles were fought in the old English 
style of Edward the Third and Henry the Fifth* 


by lines of archery flanked by clumps of billmen and 
dismounted knights. He is found employing both 
cannon and hand-gun men, but made no decisive or 
novel use of either, except in the case of his siege- 
artillery in the campaign of 1464. Nor did he 
employ cavalry to any great extent ; his men dis- 
mounted to fight like their grandfathers at Agincourt, 
although the power of horsemen had again revindicated 
itself on the Continent. The Earl was a cool and capable 
commander ; he was not one of the hot-headed feudal 
chiefs who strove to lead every charge. It was his wont 
to conduct his first line to the attack and then to retire 
and take command of the reserve, with which he 
delivered his final attack in person. This caution led 
some contemporary critics, especially Burgundians who 
contrasted his conduct with the headlong valour of 
Charles the Rash, to throw doubts on his personal 
courage. The sneer was ridiculous. The man who was 
first into the High Street at St. Albans, who fought 
through the ten hours of Towton, and won a name by 
his victories at sea in an age when sea-fights were carried 
on by desperate hand-to-hand attempts to board, might 
afford to laugh at any such criticism. If he fell at 
Barnet "somewhat flying," as the Yorkist chronicler 
declares, he was surely right in endeavouring to save 
himself for another field ; he knew that one lost battle 
would not wreck his cause, while his own life was the 
sole pledge of the union between the Lancastrian party 
and the majority of the nation. 

Brave, courteous, liberal, active, and able, a generous 
lord to his followers, an untiring servant to the com- 
monweal, Warwick had all that was needed to attract the 

xvn HIS FAULTS 241 

homage of his contemporaries : they called him, as the 
Kentish ballad-monger sang, "a very noble knight, the 
flower of manhood." But it is only fair to record that 
he bore in his character the fatal marks of the two sins 
which distinguished the English nobles of his time. 
Occasionally he was reckless in bloodshedding. Once 
in his life he descended to the use of a long and deliber- 
ate course of treason and treachery. 

In the first-named sin Warwick had less to reproach 
himself with than most of his contemporaries. He never 
authorised a massacre, or broke open a sanctuary, or 
entrapped men by false pretences in order to put them 
to death. In battle, too, he always bid his men to spare 
the Commons. Moreover, some of his crimes of blood- 
shed are easily to be palliated : Mundeford and the other 
captains whom he beheaded at Calais had broken their 
oath of loyalty to him ; the Bastard of Exeter, whom 
he executed at York, had been the prime agent in 
the murder of his father. The only wholly unpardonable 
act of the Earl was his slaying of the Woodvilles and 
Herberts in 1469. They had been his bitter enemies, 
it is true \ but to avenge political rivalries with the axe, 
without any legal form of trial, was unworthy of the 
high reputation which Warwick had up to that moment 
enjoyed. It increases rather than lessens the sum of his 
guilt to say that he did not publicly order their death, 
but allowed them to be executed by rebels whom he had 
roused and might as easily have quieted. 

But far worse, in a moral aspect, than the slaying of 
the Woodvilles and Herberts, was the course of treachery 
and deceit that had preceded it. That the Earl had been 
wantonly insulted by his thankless master in a way that 


242 WARWICK chap. 

would have driven even one of milder mood to despera- 
tion, we have stated elsewhere. An ideally loyal man 
might have borne the King's ingratitude in silent dignity, 
and foresworn the Court for ever : a hot-headed man 
might have burst out at once into open rebellion ; but 
Warwick did neither. When his first gust of wrath had 
passed, he set himself to seek revenge by secret treachery. 
He returned to the Court, was superficially reconciled to 
his enemies, and bore himself as if he had forgotten 
his wrongs. Yet all the while he was organising an 
armed rising to sweep the Woodvilles and Herberts 
away, and to coerce the King into subjection to his will. 
The plan was as unwise as it was unworthy. Although 
Warwick's treason was for the moment entirely successful, 
it made any confidence between himself and his master 
impossible for the future. At the earliest opportunity 
Edward revenged himself on Warwick with the same 
weapons that had been used against himself, and drove 
the Earl into exile. 

There is nothing in Warwick's subsequent reconcilia- 
tion with the Lancastrians which need call up our moral 
indignation. It was the line of conduct which forced 
him into that connection that was evil, not the connec- 
tion itself. There is no need to reproach him for chang- 
ing his allegiance ; no other course was possible to 
him in the circumstances. The King had cast him off, 
not he the King. When he transferred his loyalty to 
the house of Lancaster, he never swerved again. All the 
offers which Edward made to him after his return in 
1471 were treated with contempt. Warwick was not 
the man to sell himself to the highest bidder. 

If then Warwick was once in his life driven into 

xvii THE END OF ALL 243 

treachery and bloodthirsty revenge, we must set against 
his crime his fifteen long years of honest and consistent 
service to the cause he had made his own, and remember 
how dire was the provocation which drove him to betray 
it. Counting his evil deeds of 1469-70 at their worst, 
he will still compare not unfavourably with any other of 
the leading Englishmen of his time. Even in that 
demoralised age his sturdy figure stands out in not un- 
attractive colours. Born in a happier generation, his 
industry and perseverance, his courage and courtesy, his 
liberal hand and generous heart, might have made him 
not only the idol of his followers, but the bulwark of 
the commonwealth. Cast into the godless times of the 
Wars of the Roses, he was doomed to spend in the cause 
of a faction the abilities that were meant to benefit a 
whole nation ; the selfishness, the cruelty, the political 
immorality of the age, left their mark on his character \ 
his long and honourable career was at last stained by 
treason, and his roll of successes terminated by a crushing 
defeat. Even after his death his misfortune has not 
ended. Popular history has given him a scanty record 
merely as the Kingmaker or the Last of the Barons, as 
a selfish intriguer or a turbulent feudal chief ; and for 
four hundred and ten years he has lacked even the 
doubtful honour of a biography. 


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